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GM Shows Off with Its Largest-Ever Auto Technology Display

January 4, 1988 GMT

DETROIT (AP) _ General Motors Corp., the world’s largest manufacturer, is expecting 14,000 guests for an auto technology show it promises will dwarf all of its previous displays.

The invitation-only exhibit runs from Tuesday through Thursday at New York’s Waldorf-Astoria hotel, GM spokesman Harold Jackson said Monday.

As at many of its previous shows, including the Motorama ″dream car″ exhibits GM put on at the Waldorf each year from 1949-61, the stars of the ″GM Teamwork and Technology - For Today and Tomorrow″ show will be concept cars, concrete displays of GM’s visions of its future.


The show will feature two dozen vehicles including five new concept cars, one for each of GM’s five car divisions except Oldsmobile and one by GM’s truck division.

Suppliers, auto dealers, Wall Street analysts, journalists and GM employees will also see exhibits touting cooperation among employees and the blessings of technology.

GM has shown off its new production and concept vehicles at the Waldorf since 1932, except during World War II. Its previous shows were free and open to the public, and most later went on the road.

The Motoramas attracted a total of 10 million visitors. This time, attendance at the show will be limited but ″the message will still be carried nationwide. We’re going to have an advertising insert reaching 60 million families based on this show,″ Jackson said.

GM also is hoping the show’s influential visitors will spread a message that will turn back the wave of negative publicity that has swamped the automaker in the past two years.

GM Chairman Roger Smith has been replaced as the auto industry’s golden boy by Ford Motor Co. Chairman Donald Petersen, whose company recovered from loss- ridden years of the early 1980s to outearn its U.S. competitors in 1986.

Once admired for bold moves into high technology and factory automation, including the purchase of Hughes Aircraft Corp. and Electronic Data Systems Corp., Smith was criticized for GM’s failure to produce cars buyers wanted, for its $750 million buyout of Texas billionaire and EDS founder H. Ross Perot, for numerous plant closings and for flagging sales.

GM’s share of the U.S. car market, once around 50 percent, has fallen into the low 30s and industry analysts say they doubt GM will be able to recover much of the share it has lost.

In addition to foreign competitors, GM has lost market share to Ford and Chrysler Corp., its two smaller domestic rivals.