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Hagerty
Hagerty Employee

Local auto shows aren't like the big ones

Us automotive journalists have a rather deluded take on the annual auto show. We don't visit to make an informed decision on our next vehicle purchase, nor do we lean on it as a family outing to keep the kids busy.
https://www.hagerty.com/media/events/local-auto-shows-arent-like-the-big-ones/
17 REPLIES 17
ap41563
Intermediate Driver

I have been to our local new car show here every year since 1989. It hosted by the North Carolina New Car Dealers Association.I have watched this show change venues and ebb and flow with lots of manufacture support and a blend of local dealers and some years with no manufacture support. Some years it is very light on inventory and I worry the next year they will not have it. Then the next year is the biggest year yet. Sadly Covid shut it down for 2020 and it moved from traditionally February to September of 2021. I missed my first show last year and I was crushed. Although I hope this year I will pick back up and be able to go.

I know for a while they have talked about the traditional "big shows" are dead and manufacturers are starting to prefer to debut models on their own timeline and stand alone events and gasp "virtual" events. I hope in person large events still take place. It is always great to be able to look at a Camry and then go compare it to an Accord or Malibu. Sorry Ford the Maverick is not a Fusion. (Although I'd gladly take one, however I'll stick with my 11' Ranger it's not as wide and fits in my garage).

Long Live the Local New Car Auto Show
hyperv6
Collector

I have been to the local to the big and it is different.

Press day in Detroit is real food and two story displays while Cleveland is Donuts and a new color option on the Corvette.

Now not to bad mouth Cleveland too much as it is the largest show in square feet. I drove a hydrogen cell vehicle inside the building at the event. It also has been the site of the GM ride and drive where I got to take Z06 Corvettes around an autocross course at full tilt with drifting in the corners and Hummers on hills and tilts to the limit.

But still Detroit is still the next level up. You see all the show cars and all the new cars often for the first time.

But to be honest with recent cut backs even the best shows are not what they once were. There is just a bit less of everything. Less MFGs, new models, less show cars and less freebies. I used to come home with fleet shirts, hats, fans, bags, and brochures for many vehicles. Now not much of anything.

In Detroit GM had two floors of displays, Benz has a 3 story glass building. Some brands had complete rooms with 4 walls and ceiling for a display.

There has been talks of going to an out door event in warm weather. I hope Detroit does this as the present show is just not what it was and with the economy and Covid it could decline more.

If you can try to hit one of the large global shows even just once. I live close enough to Detroit it is just a day trip as long as the snow off Lake Erie is not stranding us in Sandusky Ohio on the way home. I have had the sun out in Detroit and 12” of snow by the time I hit Akron.

 

The best memories of Detroit. The global show cars that came from Paris, Frankfurt and Tokyo. The greatest disappointments, the original concept Aztek and the quality of the first gen. Colorado. 

Also got a ride in a EV1 inside at the Detroit show. 

compaqdeskpro
Detailer

One specific highlight was the last year of the Cadillac DTS. Those were the most comfortable seats I have ever sat in, it had a wide clean sweeping dashboard dominated by fake wood and squishy cream leather, center console well below the knees. It looked low key opulant, elegant suggestions of its tailfin history, self conscious to be too expensive looking, our version of a Jaguar. I was very impressed. Then next year the XTS showed up.
compaqdeskpro
Detailer

My local one is in Boston. It was cancelled for 2020, and was supposed to be back on in 2021, everyone was in agreement, but then they cancelled it again, this time because the dealers had no stock, or more likely everything they had was already sold to someone. In other news, I walk past the Apple store in the mall thinking I could check out the new Macbook Pro with the magsafe connector, but no, the store is completely empty with one employee and there are 3 armed guards in black body armor. BY APPOINTMENT ONLY. Tesla apparently don't need to display their products in stores to sell all they can make, now that attitude has spread to Apple and car dealerships. What's going to happen to all the female marketers and project managers?
ATLpaul
Detailer

Absolutely great review and article. I totally agree, these shows still play a huge part in any auto enthusiast's world. Or shopper. They are just fun if you like cars. I read articles and watch lots of car videos and shop on auto trader and manufacturer sites, but something about actually touching and feeling can never be replaced.

DUB6
Racer

No such thing as this type of show in SW Idaho, so I can only get my fix by looking at articles and pictures from someone who attends. All things are relative. To Sajeev, the Houston Show may seem pretty small and "local" when compared with Detroit and others (and I guess it probably is), but when viewed through the eyes of someone who would have to spend a whole day driving to different dealerships just to hope to catch a glimpse of some new models (maybe only through a video or brochure anyway, as they wouldn't always have one on hand), this seems like a pretty big, glitzy deal. It's like a guy with diabetes who has to avoid sugar all year but gets to have one bite of his birthday cake - "best damned cake ever!" - 😋
Sajeev
Community Manager

This is true! I've spent a few summers camping along the snake river, and Idaho is just beautiful. But it's a long, long drive to a major metropolitan city with OEM/Dealerships with enough $$$ to rent out a big convention center!  

hyperv6
Collector

What was cool was back in 69 Chevy had a new Monte Carlo on a turn table that opened the car up as it tilted the body. It was at a local car dealer. 

just a year or so ago the same display in full function was at the Cleveland Auto show. It was just as I remembered as a kid. The Crawford Museum has preserved this well.

Land_Ark
Intermediate Driver

Is the new WRX as awful looking in person?
Sajeev
Community Manager

Kinda, but I still liked it for being unique and very Subaru-like in its quirkiness. Which is how I've felt about all WRXs since the original. 

DUB6
Racer

@Sajeev, I wholeheartedly agree that the WRX's quirky-ness has made it admired for years.  And although I'm much more into V-8, V-10, or V-12 "music", the stumble/rumble/bumble-bee sound of a WRX is so distinctive that I instantly can tell that one is near with even seeing it - which in itself is admirable.  Here I am with my friend Paul and one of his older models (this shot taken years ago) that, among others he had, was rallied in places from the Arctic Circle to Africa.

Rally Racer 2.jpg

Sajeev
Community Manager

Well said @DUB6 and it's not easy to be so distinctive in this day and age of globalized corporations with globalized chassis and engines. 

DUB6
Racer

Hah - not so "well said" when I now re-read it and realize I wrote the word "with" instead of "without" when referencing knowing a WRX just from the sound!  😁

But thanks.

I should have elaborated on the car and driver in the pic.  Interested parties can find out more at About us - Primitive Racing (get-primitive.com)

Flashman
Technician

"Us automotive journalists..."? "...for us enthusiasts..."? Oh, Mr. Mehta, I know you write better than considering these to be exhibiting some sort of stylistic flair. They're just wrong!
Sajeev
Community Manager

I will take your advice to heart, and be a bit more formal and less-homespun in my published work. I usually talk like this in real life...when I'm in a good mood at least. 

Truthworldwide
Advanced Driver

Absolutely love that Subaru brought a local dog rescue in on this. I know damn well in my cynical heart it was for the foot traffic but if it got a few dogs adopted it's a win-win in my ledger.
DUB6
Racer

Amen!  👍