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Auto dealers head takes love for cars full throttle

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He's not a salesman, he's just versed in the business of new cars because he and his wife have run the New York International Auto Show for the past 20 years."For me, it's like being a kid in a candy store," he said. "The show is a 12-month operation. Just right after one auto show ends we start planning the next one."Sunday marked the end of the New York International Auto Show, which was staged in the Javits Center from March 31 until April 4.Schienberg, chairman of the Greater New York Auto Dealers Association based in Whitestone, lets his wife, Candida Romanelli, run the show."These days the car industry is so interesting, so diverse, so exciting because it has so many things to offer people, probably more than it's ever had before," he said, recalling a funny Henry Ford line he heard years ago."You can order Ford in any color you want as long as it's in black," he said, laughing. "Now you have all the spectrums of colors that are available."At the auto show, car manufacturers showcase their newest technologies and models."There really is something for everybody here," he said." Our exit survey showed that about 50 percent of people who come to the show are considering buying a car within the next 12 months."Those numbers keep automakers coming back with more. This year a new look for the Volkswagon Jetta was launched. Jeep introduced the Comandeer and the Hurricane, two new SUVs. Ford remade the Chevy Cobra sports car."It is by far the largest marketing event for the industry," Schienberg said. "This is a 10-day show, we'll bring in over a million people to take a look at cars. Manufacturers will spend millions of dollars each for their displays and staffing."GNYADA has five full-time people working on the show. As the event gets closer, the organization hires outside companies to handle some of the functions of the car show.This year, he said, the cheapest car on display was the $10,000 Chevy Aveo and the most luxurious was the $500,000 Saleen."It's obviously for a very, very special buyer that's a car enthusiast," he said.The half-million dollar car can go up to 200 miles per hour and boasts a start-up time of zero to 60 miles per hour in less than three seconds.New York has the biggest market for Ferraris and Lamborghinis, Schienberg said, The New York metro area, including Connecticut and New Jersey, comprises the largest car market in the world."New York has a love affair with cars," he said.As for his own preference, he said he likes driving stick shifts. As for his brand? He was reluctant to say.But with a little prodding he added, he drives a BMW.Reach reporter Cynthia Koons by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 141.

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