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Luxury, eco-friendly vehicles highlight 2014 auto show

More luxury vehicles, a larger eco-friendly car presence and the 50th anniversary celebration of the Ford Mustang are some of the highlights at this year’s San Diego International Auto Show.

The 2014 edition of the show, which will run from Wednesday to Sunday at the Convention Center, will feature close to 500 new vehicles from 36 manufacturers from around the world.

“This is where the cars are the stars,” said Amy Foley, spokeswoman for the auto show. “The great thing about the show is you can try out the cars for yourself, learn the new technology in them and really grab the wheels without the pressure of a dealership to buy.”

The show’s Exotics Vault — which features exotic luxury vehicles — has a larger exhibit area this year, with 2014 models from Ferrari, Lotus, Aston Martin and, for the first time, Maserati’s new “affordable” sedan, the Ghibli, which starts at $65,000.

For the 15th year, the San Diego International Auto Show will offer its Ride and Drives event, where attendees can sign up for free test drives of 17 models, including all-electric vehicles from BMW, Nissan and General Motors.

“The San Diego show offers more vehicles to test drive than any other car show,” Foley said.

New to the ThinkBlue Eco Center, which features vehicles with advanced technologies that reduce the carbon footprint, will be Friday’s Electric Vehicle Day.

Representatives from San Diego Gas & Electric, the California Center for Sustainable Energy and ThinkBlue will provide information on special low electricity rates available to electric-vehicle drivers, including tax credits, HOV privileges and charging stations.

The ThinkBlue Eco Center will also highlight the Zeletric 1963 Volkswagen bug. Zeletric specializes in modifying classic vehicles and installing its electric powertrain technology.

To mark the 50th anniversary of the Mustang, Ford will show 12 models of the iconic car, including the 1965 Emberglo convertible, a 1969 and 1973 Mach I, and 2007 Shelby GT500.

Foley said the show is not scheduled to have any concept cars this year because of the cost to make and ship them.

Now, even though the cars are the stars of the San Diego International Auto Show, bikes will shine at the GEICO Motorcycle Pavilion, which will feature the Paul Jr. Designed GEICO Military Tribute Bike and the GEICO Gecko Bike.

The 2014 show opens at 10 a.m. and costs $12 for adults and $8 for children; there are discounts for military and seniors. Sunday is Ford Family Day, when children under 12 are free.

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