Tuesday, March 24, 2009

(Late) Thoughts on the Chicago Auto Show

I know it is quite a bit late, but I figured I should finally post some of my thoughts on the Chicago Auto Show. Drew and I both decided to skip the Detroit show this year due to the combination of the amount of companies pulling out, the dirtiness of Detroit and just the lackluster showing it has had over the previous couple of years. This was my first year to the Chicago show, but I feel it was time better spent than in Detroit. There is already talk about Detroit losing the "International Auto Show" title to (probably) Los Angeles, and so we figured it was easy to skip. Also since we are just normal peons, we don't get any cool access to the press days. So I figured I would just list some of my general thoughts during the show.

* Hyundai seems to be missing a huge potential sales possibility with the disparity in style between the Genesis Coupe and the Genesis Sedan. The Coupe is a hip rear-wheel drive sports car and the Sedan comes across as almost "Caddy-ish" in its style. On the Coupe you have a well thought interior that focuses on the driver, incredible race-style seats and track upgrades all around. On the other side you have the Sedan which is almost too posh and seems to lean toward an older demographic. Hyundai really could have filled a great niche with a younger grouping by making the Sedan a bit more sporty and more youth oriented. Look at how Scion was able to grow under that marketing idea and I honestly think Hyundai could have benefited from a similar style. Right now the two cars almost seem like they come from different companies.

* I was really pretty surprised to see Saturn at the show and even a little insulted that Hummer would be there. In this day, not only does nobody care about Hummer, but they are becoming an anachronism. Only the truly out of touch are interested in such a waste of energy and money. Also Saturn is still hanging on, it seems only a matter of time before they are also closed down so GM can maybe some money. That is still to be seen, but I still find it odd they would have such a prominent display.

* Maybe I just don't understand, but the new Chevy Stingray concept is horrible. It is incredibly ugly and almost a crime against nature. While the original had nice flowing lines and gorgeous styling, this new one is just gaudy. It seems like what a rich out-of-touch yuppie would envision how the Corvette Stingray should look. It just a contrived garish design that is all angles. Although in this economy and the way GM is headed, I sincerely doubt it will ever be produced.

* The Mazda M Coupe...why wasn't this produced? This was a sexy hardtop version of the Miata that was produced for the New York Auto Show in 1996. It is so sad that it was never designed. Even though the current Miata is just a drivers dream, I can just imagine how awesome it would be as a full hardtop coupe. It just seems like a missed opportunity.

* I went into the show really wanting to like the new Taurus SHO. The old SHOs just cannot be beat for their sleeper abilities, but this one just doesn't look right. It is freakin' huge and those massive 20 inch stock tires sure don't help anything. The awesome Ecoboost V6 Turbo that it will have is a great choice for an engine. Plus it will have over 300HP and will be All-Wheel Drive. I really, really want to like it, I really do. But with the price, size and styling, I am just not sure anymore.

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