Why the North American International Auto Show Is So Exciting

By Motley Fool Staff Markets Fool.com

Earlier in January, the annual North American International Auto Show was held in Detroit.In this video segment from Industry Focus: Industrials, senior auto specialist John Rosevear joins Motley Fool analyst Sean O'Reilly to explain what the NAIAS is and why it's so exciting for anyone who likes to keep up with the auto industry.

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A full transcript follows the video.

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This podcast was recorded on Jan. 19, 2017.

Sean O'Reilly: Other than just being another auto show, what is the North American International Auto Show, exactly?

John Rosevear: This is the big auto-industry party in North America. Happens every year in January. It's where automakers in not just Detroit, but a lot of the global automakers, showcase models intended primarily for the U.S. market. One of the vehicles we'll be talking about, for instance: Toyotashowed off their all-new Camry.

This was last week, it was in Detroit. I was there for several days. One of the joys of this show for a media person is that all the auto executives are there and accessible. I had chats at considerable length with folks from Fordand GMand a few of the other companies. I learned a lot.

A lot of the big action at the show happens away from the big showcase debuts, which you might see on TV or YouTube or something like that, where they do have the thumping music and the lights and the big video presentation, and they roll out the all-new car or the concept car or whatever. It draws most of the world's automotive media, as well as a whole lot of Wall Street analysts. We also see tech-analyst types more and more now, as tech and auto are blending together. You see a lot of people from publications like Wired or The Verge or something like that at the show, which is very interesting. And, also, a ton of car dealers who want to see what's coming and schmooze with the manufacturers.

O'Reilly: Yeah, it sounds a little bit like the Berkshire annual meeting. You have the big show, and you hear Warren [Buffett] and Charlie Munger talk and everything but, really, the reason you go is for the side things, like at restaurants afterward.

Rosevear: Yes. There is a lot of that. There's also a ton of business done at the show. A lot of suppliers are there, and they may not be on the show floor itself. I was there for media days, but last weekend it opened to the public. They were off to the side somewhere, but they're having discussions, they sent a whole team to Detroit from -- who knows where? Germany, Korea, China -- different places where the suppliers might have their home bases, come to talk business with their contacts in Detroit. Not just Ford, GM, Fiat Chrysler-- but a lot of the auto industry has a presence, have offices, have design shops in southeast Michigan, because it's a global center of auto nerd-dom, auto expertise. It's where a lot of the experienced people are.

John Rosevear owns shares of Ford and General Motors. Sean O'Reilly has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Berkshire Hathaway (B shares) and Ford. The Motley Fool recommends General Motors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.