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2016 Pittsburgh International Auto Show Presents A World Of Wheels

 Car enthusiasts and consumers alike can kick the tires of the latest models from leading automakers this weekend as the David L. Lawrence Convention Center turns its event space into a showroom floor for the  Pittsburgh International Auto Show.

“We have every vehicle that’s on the market today. We also have some rare one of a kind vehicles just for fun,” says John Putzier, CEO of the  Greater Pittsburgh Automobile Dealers Association.

As he was overseeing the finishing touches for this year’s show, Putzier, spoke with Essential Pittsburgh about the importance of the auto show.

“The emphasis is on the newest models and technology and … trying to deter distracted driving,” Putzier said, as a sporty yellow Ferrari with black racing stripes was being positioned for display.

He said one of car designers' latest innovations is pedestrian detection to reduce or eliminate collisions. Another challenge for automakers is the generational shift in car buying. Millennials aren’t as excited about owning or driving a car as previous generations were, Putzier said. This is evidenced, in part, by an apathy towards obtaining a driver’s license.

According to a 2012 University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute study, fewer 16 – 24 year olds are getting driver’s licenses citing an increased cost of driving, difficulties of car ownership and maintenance and the ease of public transportation.

Putzier said he’s still hopeful owners’ love affair with their cars will endure, and steady declines in gas prices haven’t hurt his cause. 

“It’s actually helped the auto industry,” he said, “because people are buying up.”

Putzier said that same trend is resulting in lower, sometimes non-existent sales for electric and hybrid vehicles.

The Pittsburgh International Auto Show is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday and Monday. Cost is $12; $10 seniors and military; Children 12 and under free; half-price for everyone on Monday.  

More Essential Pittsburgh segments can be heard here