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High tech featured at W.Va. auto show

By Megan Workman
Courtesy photo
Cadillac XTS
WANT TO GO?WHAT: West Virginia International Auto ShowWHERE: Charleston Civic CenterWHEN: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Jan. 25 and 26, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Jan 26HOW MUCH: $8 for adults, $6 for seniors, $5 for children ages 7 to 12, free for children ages 6 and underMORE INFO: www.WestVirginiaAutoShow.comCHARLESTON, W.Va. -- About 15 million new cars are expected to sell in the United States this year.And it's thanks to the technology those cars are equipped with that is driving sales, said Wally Thornhill, co-chairman of the 2013 West Virginia International Auto Show. "The market is coming back and has increased in the last four years," Thornhill, who owns the Thornhill Superstore auto dealerships in Chapmanville and South Charleston, said last week. "They've increased the content on the smaller cars. [Consumers] want features that they're used to having in their phones and that content in entry-level cars has been very, very popular."Many people have smartphones and they want those features integrated with their cars, said Ruth Lemmon, president of the West Virginia Automobile and Truck Dealers Association, the show's chief organizer.The auto show will run Jan. 25 to 27 at the Charleston Civic Center.Smartphone applications are now available in several vehicle models, including Buick, Chevrolet, Ford and GMC. The apps allow owners to lock and unlock their car doors, check tire pressure and even remotely start their vehicle, all from a cellphone.
Many of the models at the auto show are stocked with Pandora Internet radio, built-in WiFi and streaming Bluetooth audio, another way to listen to music. Newer models of Buick, Chevrolet and GMC are equipped with a pause live radio function, which can record up to 20 minutes of live broadcasting to be played back later.Some of that technology is to meet the demands of drivers who expect the latest innovations, but other advancements are to keep people safe.Technological features like accident avoidance sensors, which monitor vehicles surrounding a person's car to prepare for possible collisions, are present in automobiles that will be at the West Virginia International Auto Show.Cars are also equipped with radar-guided cruise control to minimize rear-end collisions and to sense lane drifting -- important for sleepy drivers.
Introduced last year, the 2013 Ford Explorer, which will be at the auto show, has inflatable rear seat belts.If the vehicle experiences severe impact, the inflatable rear seatbelts react in a manner that will have a less catastrophic effect on an individual versus a standard seatbelt. The seatbelts are ideal for small children as well as adults since they are located in the outer passenger seats (the center rear seats do no have inflatable seatbelts).Lemmon said the purpose of the auto show is "two fold" -- to bring the latest technology and vehicles to the buying public but to also provide entertainment.Tickets purchased at come with a $1 discount off regular adult admission. Visitors will also receive a free one-year subscription to Motor Trend magazine.Reach Megan Workman at or 304-348-5113. 
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