Some of the best-known heavy hitters in the automotive world, including Edsel B. Ford II, great-grandson of Henry Ford and a member of the Board of Directors of Ford; Scott Keogh, president of Audi; Keith Crain, editor-in-chief of Automotive News and other titles and chairman of Crain Communications; and Roger Penske, owner of Penske Racing and other Penske enterprises, will make the area feel a little like Motor City during the Washington Auto Show.

"I'm always about the new vehicles and especially wanted the chance to see the new Chevy Camaro," said Michael Squire, of Hebron, Ken., who skipped a recent Detroit show to attend the D.C.-area show.

Although the local show points the way to green technology and gives auto insiders plentiful opportunities to lobby for the industry, the general public that attends seems more interested in the specific offerings than the push and pull between the industry and government.

Andy Rushin, of Stafford, another longtime Camaro enthusiast, said he makes an annual pilgrimage to the D.C. show to look at the new models. During the market's downturn, he predicted that General Motors and other automakers would bounce back with such cars as Camaro leading the way.

If you go
The 2013 Washington Auto Show
Where: Walter E. Washington Convention Center, 801 Mount Vernon Place, NW
When: Friday through Feb. 10: Monday to Thursday, noon to 9 p.m., Friday, noon to 10 p.m., Saturday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., Sunday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Info: $12; $5 kids ages 6-12, children 5 and under free; 202-249-4060;

His prediction seems to be accurate, with the National Automobile Dealers Association forecasting 2013 auto sales will be more than 15 million for the first time since 2007.

"Nobody makes a bad car anymore," says Chris Travell, vice president of Maritz Research's Automotive Research Group in Toronto. "When you walk the floor of the auto shows, you are hit by that. And that's resonating with consumers."

Although the auto industry is responding to federal regulations mandating high levels of fuel economy, that message does not resonate with all buyers. Those that buy luxury cars are more interested in the high-tech options than gas mileage.

The organizers of the Auto Show are reaching out to that group of buyers, too. This year marks the debut of the Luxury Showcase. "We are elated to group these manufacturers together at the show for consumers to examine and enjoy all in one place," said Robert Fogarty, president of Sport Chevrolet/Honda and chairman of the 2013 Washington Auto Show, in a press statement.

The 11 automakers included in the luxury area are: Acura, Audi, BMW, Cadillac, Infiniti, Jaguar, Land Rover, Lexus, Lincoln, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo.