Indianapolis Auto Show offers glimpse of future

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We may be closing in on the end of the calendar year, but that doesn't mean all the big decisions for 2011 are over. In fact, this last week of the year may turn out to be a big one when it comes to auto sales.

The long line at the Indiana Convention Center waiting for the 2012 Indianapolis Auto Show to open the day after Christmas revealed how much interest there is out there. It spans the generations.

Many come to just look but many others, like Bill Schenck of New Palestine, are more serious.

"I'm actually thinking of buying something this year which is a little different. Thinking about the Passat diesel," he said.

The hope is that the cars on display at the Indianapolis Auto Show will inspire more consumers to visit a dealer.

"Great offers right now from zero interest rates. Zero percent has been around for a long time. Interest rates, rebates, leases; all the manufacturers are real competitive. Fourth quarter is very competitive regardless. Having the auto show does bring some focus into the market," said Todd Reiselman, Ed Martin Nissan.

There are so many cars on display that it might make your head spin. But that's what visitors to the show are looking for.

"I'm just a what's new kind of a guy. Gotta see what's new and get a look at everything, basically," said Steve Hofer, Indianapolis.

The 2013 Escape has an interesting feature where you can open the tailgate with a mere swipe of your foot.

"There you go with a simple wave of your foot under the vehicle you have opened the liftgate," said Ericka Pfeifer, Ford.

But this is not an open and shut case.

"I would drive an Escape for the rest of my life. No question about it. I had one. I loved it. I fell in love with it. Would never drive anything other than an Escape but that is not an Escape," said Melissa Hamer, Columbus.

"The Escape is what's new and coming up. It's got technology. Fuel efficiency. It's got what people are looking for," said Pfeifer.

Not according to Hamer.

"They are not the same design at all. It looks like a Rav 4," said Hamer.

Ford wanted to use the car show as an opportunity to give consumers a look at the future.

"Escape was the number one selling car in the small SUV segment. So I think this is what the people like. Small SUVs. This is something different so I think she is seeing the future," said Pfeifer.

That is what brought many of these consumers to the auto show. The real question is whether any of these cars will be a part of these consumers' futures in the next week.

The Indianapolis Auto Show, which began Monday, is scheduled to run through Sunday, January first. It is the second longest auto show in the nation.