David Kelleher, the 2017 Philadelphia Auto Show chairman, has plenty of options to choose from when asked about the coolest part about the annual late winter exhibition of the finest on four wheels.
Something from the new Super Car Display like the Saleen S7 Twin Turbo Competition, Ferrari 599XX, or Mosler Raptor GTR? Maybe an exotic Aston Martin DB11, Lamborghini LP710 SV or a Maserati Levante S?
Perhaps Kelleher’s tastes are more classic and he will be drawn to the 1968 Ford Shelby?
He speaks on each show topic like a man who has plenty of experience in the industry, but when asked what’s the coolest among the gleaming steel beauties, Kelleher, a Delaware County resident and president of David Auto in Glen Mills, shows he is a true family man.
“Things that keep people safe without them knowing it, is really exciting for me. Lane departures and rear camera back up cameras are virtually universal and it’s going to become law in another year,” said Kelleher. “It’s been a wonderful experience watching the safety features grow and become so readily available. I think the manufacturers chasing each other up that technology ladder on safety is what’s really exciting to me. I know it sounds a little boring, but it’s pretty cool.”
The father of Kennedy, 11, and Sam, 8, isn’t the only one at the Auto Show touting safety instead of the obviously flashy features and new car smell.
Joe LaMuraglia, Chevrolet’s regional communication manger, says they commissioned a study and the top concern among parents of teenagers is them getting behind the wheel of a car.
“As the cars become more advanced they become more powerful, faster and can do a lot more,” explained LaMuraglia. “We realize there are a lot more cars on the road, too. Safety is really important. We want our customers, when they get into a Chevrolet, to feel they have the best technology available.”
Kelleher says the show has a “gigantic” influence on consumers although guests are able to check out vehicles without facing any kinds of salesmanship. The show expects 250,000 visitors and it does figure into area dealerships’ sales with about 50 percent of attendees using their visit as consideration to purchase a vehicle within one calendar year.
“Ever since I had this role, I spend all my time with consumers saying ‘hello,’” said Kelleher. “There is something to move everyone whether it is your emotion, sense of fun, or maybe you’ll find what you are going to drive in 2017. I tell people to find me and together we are going to find what moves them.”
There are plenty of options on the 700,000-square foot display floor. Sixteen vehicles on display are not yet in showrooms and eight are making their East Coast debut. Six companies will be offering ride-and-drive opportunities.
The show isn’t just for those who appreciate the intricacies of engines or want to snap a selfie in front of a yellow Lamborghini. Kelleher stresses it is “not an adult show” and loves seeing families.
“I say we’ve done what we set out to do which is create an event that transcends the business of car selling and goes into just what a great day it is to be out,” said Kelleher. “I love when the kids are eating cotton candy and asking if they can come back next year.”
Popular for all ages – DUB Show Tour – Hosted by DUB Magazine this years DUB Live exhibit will include the hottest customized rides today.
The Philadelphia Auto Show parks at the Pennsylvania Convention Center Jan. 28 to Feb.5.