With the Chicago Auto Show behind us, automakers readying new trim levels and minor engine revisions will have to wait until next year’s Chicago Auto Show, which - aside from wordy Internet press releases - has become the official place for such unveilings. Pitched as a mini Detroit Auto Show but really more like a major Des Moines Auto Show, Chicago gives journalists yet another venue to mooch free alcohol off mid-level automotive PR grunts who aren’t yet senior enough to skip it. Fortunately for you senior PR folks - and anyone else who didn’t get the pleasure of Chicago in February - I’ve covered everything you need to know. The only big news in Chicago was the debut of a redesigned 2014 Toyota Tundra. This is Toyota’s fourth-generation full-size pickup, expected to record around a tenth of domestic rivals’ sales no matter how many ads Toyota runs explaining that it’s built in San Antonio. Volkswagen upheld the Chicago show’s reputation by releasing both new trim levels and engine revisions, keeping actual new products tightly wrapped until New York. Some highlights of the VW display:
- A Wiz Khalifa-inspired Beetle, called the GSR because it stands for “Yellow Black Racer” in German. Truly. Assuming the Pittsburgh Pirates buy one to drive around the warning track during the seventh inning stretch with a t-shirt cannon sticking out the sunroof, VW still has to find a home for 3,499 of these, since production is “limited” to 3,500.
- Speaking of premature runout models, the Beetle Convertible is adding an R-Line model for 2013. With little else to cover, journalists oohed and aahed over its aluminum shift knob while mooching free alcohol off mid-level automotive PR grunts.
- Best of all, the Jetta GLI and Beetle Turbo received an entire press kit worth of engine upgrades. Net gain: 10 horsepower and 0 pound-feet. I sure hope they upgraded the brakes. But I’d have to read the press kit to find out.