Detroit Auto Show's Attendance Is Best In Eleven YearsS

There were more people visiting Cobo Hall for the North American International Auto Show than there are people living in the city of Detroit. Attendance this year topped out at 803,451 — its highest since 2003, when 838,066 car gawkers attended.

You know us Detroiters tend to celebrate the mundane ("oh, someone famous said something nice about us? Make it the lead story at 11!" - news producers), but these figures are worth noting. One, obviously people aren't scared to visit Detroit. Two, it's a sign that the auto industry is on an upswing. Three, people seem to be able to afford cars now, so it's a sign the economy is slowly coming back.

Only twice in the last 11 years has attendance broken 800,000. The 803,451 number comes from people who actually bought a ticket — and that includes the charity preview. (Not counted in that figure: The 5,167 journalists who attended during the press preview, another record.) NAIAS organizers say the show this year has an economic impact of $365 million, though I'm never sure where all that money is spread out each year.

So, where did everyone park?