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Auto show preview party aids charities

Car dealers' annual event provides funds for hospital, groups


by: TRIBUNE PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER ONSTOTT - The 2012 VW Eoss power folding hardtop was a big hit at the Portland Auto Show last year. The Oregon Convention Center will host the 2013 Auto Show again this year. Do you enjoy cars and supporting charities? Then the First Look for Charity Preview Party for the 2013 Portland International Auto Show is for you.

For the first time, the event held the evening before the annual Auto Show begins will be open to the public as a charitable fundraiser. Tickets are $200 each, with the money going to three charities: the American Heart Association, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and the Shriners Children’s Hospital.

The Jan. 23 preview party includes food, refreshments, music and access to the Auto Show in the Oregon Convention Center, 777 N.E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. The show opens to the public Jan. 24 and continues through Jan. 27.

The 2013 Portland International Auto Show is presented by the Metro Portland New Car Dealers Association. Executive Vice President Greg Remensperger says that in the past, the preview party has been held for association members, sponsors and their guests. But public interest prompted the organization to open it to everyone this year.

“The annual Portland International Auto Show has traditionally donated some of its proceeds to charitable organizations, so the decision to make the preview party a charitable fundraiser was an easy one,” says Remensperger. “And, for this event, the MPNCDA will absorb all the production costs and donate 100 percent of the proceeds to charity.”

People attending the party can choose which charity to support. Tickets must be bought online at the auto dealer’s website, portlandnewcars.com.

Look at new cars

The Portland International Auto Show has long been the one place to see almost all of the newest cars, trucks, vans, crossovers and SUVs in one place. More than 30 manufacturers are scheduled to participate in this year’s show, which is taking place as motor vehicle sales are recovering from the Great Recession. Sales in 2012 were reportedly around 14.5 million vehicles in the United States, the highest number since 2008.

Analysts attribute the increase to many factors. They include the record age of vehicles on the road. Many motorists put off buying new vehicles during tough economic times and are now facing costly repair bills. In addition, manufacturers are offering a wide variety of new vehicles there days, ranging from all-electric cars to redesigned family sedans, fuel-efficient sport utility vehicles and tough but comfortable trucks. And many manufacturers are also providing discounts, special financing and other incentives to boost sales.

But the show has also evolved over the years to broaden its appeal. This year, it will include a Mobility Center with products for people with trouble getting around, along with a Wellness Garage with personal health checkups and advice. Also returning are ride-and-drives by various manufacturers and Camp Jeep, the popular indoor off-road course featuring Jeep vehicles.

Discount admission and special events are available on Family Day, Sunday, Jan. 27.