Tag: auto shows

By on April 10, 2019

As it soaks up newfound love from an absentee parent, Maserati plans on bringing its best to the New York International Auto Show. The Italian marque recently announced it intends to cart its entire vehicle lineup to the venue — with a special focus on a new customization program and the Levante SUV, which it calls a “New York favorite.”

We consider every Maserati a New York favorite, as you rarely see them anywhere but along the coastal United States. While the company does have dealerships in places like St. Louis and Kansas City, you only need a quick peek at a national dealer map to realize which side of the bread holds the butter.  (Read More…)

By on February 19, 2019

Automakers across the globe are readying teaser images for models they intend to debut at the 89th Geneva International Motor Show next month. For Subaru, that means the latest addition to its Viziv line of concept vehicles.

While initial Viziv concepts were highly conceptual designs, the line has gradually evolved to deliver models more in line with Subaru’s production vehicles. The 2016 Viziv-7 ultimately led to the creation of the Ascent and both the 2017 Viziv Performance Concept and 2018 Tourer Concept appear to directly foreshadow future incarnations of the WRX. But the new concept is an unknown quantity.  (Read More…)

By on January 23, 2019

It might surprise you, since most automotive sites have moved on to other topics, but the North American International Auto Show, aka the Detroit auto show, is still going on as you read this. Hundreds of thousands of people are planning to attend the public days of the show that continue through next Sunday.

If you’re thinking of going, or just want a recap of the significant vehicles at the show, you’ve come to the right place. (Read More…)

By on December 13, 2018

It was long assumed that the 2020 Chevrolet Corvette would premiere at the North American International Auto Show next month. However, General Motors recently confirmed this was not to be. In fact, it doesn’t appear as though the automaker has any big announcements scheduled for the event. Did something go wrong?

Big time, according to GM Authority. The outlet claims the C8 Corvette’s engineering team found a major electrical issue that stymied development. Anonymous sources hinted that the current system isn’t robust enough to carry the load necessary to support all of the car’s components simultaneously.  (Read More…)

By on October 18, 2018

For those of you who haven’t been to the press days of one of the major American auto shows (Detroit, New York, Chicago, LA), I’ll briefly describe what they are like: many, many parties, a lot of free alcohol, and very little to do with cars. I mean, yeah, there are some cars present, but nobody really looks at them or talks about them. All the press materials are sent in advance so that websites (like this one) can publish their stories en masse as soon as whatever artificial embargo is in place expires. The cars don’t really even need to be there. I enjoy going to the New York International Auto Show for one reason — it’s in New York. If you put it in Peoria, Bark ain’t going.

Local auto shows, however, serve a completely different purpose. The idea of the local auto show in your town is that it allows you to see all of the cars you might be considering for purchase in one place. Or, if you’re a car geek, you can just go look at all of the stuff that you normally would have to have a lot more money to be allowed to look at in person. When I was growing up in Columbus, Ohio, I eagerly anticipated the auto show every year. I remember my dad begrudgingly taking me to the show, just so I could walk around Veterans Memorial Auditorium and see things like the Chevrolet Citation Coupe Concept and maybe even sit in a Trans Am for a few seconds before the Pontiac booth guy kicked me out.

So it was with that same sense of excitement that I went to the Miami International Auto Show last week. It was the first time in over a decade that I had the chance to go to a car show as a member of the general public — no name badge around my neck, no glad-handing PR reps, no hordes of automotive “journalists” obstructing my view of the cars with their ridiculous camera rigs. It was going to be an opportunity to see cars, man.

An hour later, I left the massive Miami Beach Convention Center feeling more sad than anything else. The local car show, as I knew it, appears to be dead.

(Read More…)

By on July 23, 2018

The world’s automotive press can pack away their parkas after next year’s North American International Auto Show. In 2020, the circus will move to the month of June.

This was not wholly unexpected. Pressure was mounting for NAIAS to re-invent itself, given a recent flight of manufacturers and increased competition from other events — automotive and otherwise.

(Read More…)

By on March 2, 2018

Anyone living north of, let’s be generous, the Mason-Dixon line or Ohio River, knows that January is probably the worst month in which to enjoy anything related to automobiles. Driving them, repairing them, and even travelling long distances to look at them.

Now, let’s say there was a car-filled extravaganza that occurred every winter in a northern city located next to a number of very large lakes and along a well-defined storm track. Surely, this could not only impede the enjoyment (and perhaps forward momentum) of said cars, but it could make getting to said northern city a challenge.

Suffice it to say, Detroit in January isn’t the most pleasant of environs, and the North American International Auto Show’s organizers know it. As concerns about the show’s waning appeal grow, sources claim the event is prepared to set up shop in a warmer month. (Read More…)

By on February 15, 2018

2019 Hyundai Veloster N

Amid the Chicago Auto Show hoopla last week came reports that Mercedes-Benz was considering dropping out of next year’s Detroit Auto Show, news that has since been confirmed. I was invited to a dinner with journalists by an OEM during the Chicago show, and while eating, the PR guy posed a question – “Does the auto show still matter to you guys?”

Immediately, all in attendance agreed that the shows are as important as ever to consumers and the dealers who sell them cars. Which makes sense – the shows are usually run by dealer associations, with the intent of generating sales leads.

For us in the media, though, it’s been an open question. Thanks to changes in technology and how both journalists and PR departments do their jobs, many journalists now find it easier (and cheaper) to cover the shows from home (especially if they snagged embargoed material in advance).

(Read More…)

By on January 17, 2018

I left Detroit at 4:51AM on Tuesday morning, pointed south for a three-hour drive that would terminate with the beginning of my workday. I could have taken the morning off, but I like to surround my auto shows with a little bit of deliberate misery, lest I inadvertently become too comfortable in the entirely artificial universe of public relations and journalist-pampering that seems to gain steam every year even as the rest of the event comes to resemble the petal-dropping Enchanted Rose in the spare wing of the Beast’s castle. Thus the  4 AM wakeup and the trudge out to the frozen parking lot, hunchbacked with suit bags and audibly creaking from every joint, Danger Girl trailing behind me with the wide-eyed stare common to prisoners of war and victims of spousal abuse, even if it’s mostly musical in nature.

We were not the only people starting our morning, and our truck, before dawn. Long-time TTAC readers may remember that General Motors and a few other automakers pay the travel expenses of quite a few autojournos in exchange for obtaining control of their narratives. Most of them arrive a few days before the actual show, all the better to maximize the free meals and curated experiences. On Saturday, while my son and I were driving up to a skatepark in Cleveland for an evening’s worth of BMX riding, I’d seen a former colleague of mine whining on Instagram about the less-than-five-star nature of his complimentary accommodations at the GM Renaissance Marriott. The only way I could think of to register my disappointment was to change my own hotel reservation to the absolute cheapest room available on Hotels.com: $47 a night for the Allen Park Motor Lodge.

The motel, and the room, turned out to be kinda-sorta okay, although the bed didn’t really make the grade for two people with a hardware store’s worth of screws and bolts in their bones. Here’s the interesting part: I’d expected that most of my fellow motel-dwellers would be engaged in some form of recreational depravity, but in actuality the bulk of them were construction and service-industry workers taking advantage of the weekly rates. They were early to bed and early to rise. Our work-truck white Silverado, parked in a line of pickups that stretched all the way across the motel’s road frontage, was notable only for being slightly newer than the rest. As we backed out of our spot, I saw a few Carhartt-clad fellows trudging out to the Colorados and F-150s and Rams, tool belts slung over their shoulders, rubbing their eyes and exhaling cloudy yawns of crystallized steam towards the moon.

Back to life, back to reality. But there was a bit of irony in it for me, because this Detroit show was the first one in a long time to acknowledge the connection between the polished artifice of the press-event turntable and the early-morning trudge to one’s truck.

(Read More…)

By on January 14, 2018

2019 Mercedes-Benz G-Class

The Mercedes-Benz G-Class, aka the G-Wagen or Geländewagen, is an automotive oddity. The current generation rides on a platform that predates your humble author, yet it remains a favorite of celebrities from Beverly Hills to the Meatpacking District. It also offers up a level of off-road capability that few other SUVs do.

We all know it’s a niche vehicle due to its hefty price tag, and it’s cool in part because of, not in spite of, its flaws. Mercedes-Benz could probably let it carry on with minor changes in perpetuity. It could also kill it completely, and save for an outcry from the die-hards, the absence of the G-Class likely wouldn’t hurt the brand a bit. Remember – the GL-Class was supposed to replace the G-Wagen.

(Read More…)

By on December 18, 2017

2019 Chevrolet Silverado

This weekend, Chevy surprised all hands by unveiling its 2019 Silverado by way of Sikorsky helicopter at Texas Motor Speedway. Rising over Big Hoss, the world’s largest HD television screen, a red Trail Boss Silverado made its way into view, was gently set down on the ground, and then driven on stage by a Chevy rep. The amount of moving parts in this display was enormous.

There’ve been thousands upon thousands of vehicle reveals over the years, ranging from a manufacturer simply pulling a silk sheet off the thing on stage at an auto show all the way up to the level of insanity put into motion by Chrysler in the early ’90s.

(Read More…)

By on November 29, 2017

2019 Subaru Ascent

Subaru went heavy on the family values motif as it rolled out the 2019 Subaru Ascent three-row crossover at the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show.

The company used models portraying a happy family to show off the Ascent, only with a twist – this fictional family, called the Barkleys, is of the canine variety. Sure, there were actors portraying a happy human family, too, but Subaru was using only dog puns in its presentation.

(Read More…)

By on August 15, 2017

Frankfurt Auto Show 2016

While automotive trade shows are likely to persist as a way of showing off major manufacturers’ freshest fleets, they’re losing relevance. Automakers continue to option smaller, less trade-focused events, while the big shows are giving ground to the likes of CES. The most recent example involves nine brands that have decided to forego next month’s International Motor Show in Frankfurt, Germany.

Alfa Romeo, Fiat, Nissan, Infiniti, Jeep, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Peugeot, DS, and Volvo, have all decided not to attend the IAA for 2017. Ian Fletcher, principal analyst for IHS Markit, claims automakers feel it’s becoming increasingly difficult to justify spending the colossal fees associated with taking part in a major auto show when they measure that investment against the perceived effect on sales.

“I would question what the translation rate is between attendance on public days to transactions,” he said. “I bet most customers now are happier to do research online.” (Read More…)

By on June 11, 2017

ces-asia hyundai, Image: CES Asia

Automakers continue to snub mainstream automotive trade shows for CES, which is swiftly becoming one. Compared to Las Vegas’ Consumer Electronics Show, Asia’s nascent tech expo is exceptionally small but that hasn’t prevented automakers from taking an interest. Only in its third year, CES Asia hosted General Motors, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Honda, Hyundai, and Volvo.

In fact, several of the event’s large rooms housed nothing but products stemming from automotive manufacturers — underlining how automakers need to be perceived in 2017. China’s massive population is churning out heaps of new drivers everyday, making it the primary growth market for many global brands. Combine that with the country’s aggressive push into green cars — with a public that is perpetually hungry for tech-laden vehicles — and CES Asia attendance was compulsory for many. (Read More…)

By on April 17, 2017

Toyota Test Drive Track at NYIAS, Image: Twitter by New York International Auto Show

Walking through Brooklyn, your humble author was confronted by a sign on a building that said, “We stay awesome 24/7, but we are only available in person,” followed by the company’s business hours. There are two ways to view that sort of arrant idiocy. The first is to shrug one’s shoulders and just chalk it up to the sort of cutesy, infantile, Millennial-focused marketing that has turned Brooklyn from a place where my mother was actually shot at in 1970 merely for wearing her Women’s Army Corps — but Mommy’s neither one of those, I’ve known her all these years! — Class A officer’s uniform to a sort of supervised playground for losers whose sheltered ineptitude has combined with the realities of a flaccid job market to suspend them in kindergarten gaffa until the parents run out of home equity with which to sustain them.

(That’s quite a sentence there, ain’t it? You won’t get combinations of Cheap Trick and Kate Bush jokes in Motor Trend, trust me.)

Alternately, you can be a bit more perceptive and/or distrustful about the whole matter. You might take it as a sign of a corporate culture where employees are, in fact, expected to “stay awesome 24/7,” where everybody is judged on how infrequently they have an incorrect thought, even when they are off work. We’re rapidly approaching a day where we are never truly away from our jobs. You can be fired from your job for simply saying something that people don’t like during your private time; several years ago I had a public Facebook argument with two car-magazine writers that resulted in one of them calling my day job and making a “special request” to have me fired. (He was told to get stuffed, by the way.)

In other words, we now live in a world where corporations expect to have the kind of control over reality that was once just the nightmare imagination of George Orwell. Everything is now “curated,” which is a nice way of saying controlled. And that, in a nutshell, is why most of the “New York auto show” did not actually happen at the New York Auto Show.

(Read More…)

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