Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The (Un) Official Review of the Detroit Auto Show! Illustriously Illustrated!

And what a messy day it was, but good fun was had. It was cold and dry when we got there and cold and snowy when we left.

There's a bit of local knowledge that pays off when going to the auto show or anywhere else in the area; I have never not been able to park on Cobo Roof. I think a lot of people don't even know that parking lot exists; granted there were very few signs up. What got me was the small parking lots that were 1/2 a mile from Cobo who were charging $4-$6 more than Cobo. Choice: Pay more in a less secure (maybe..) lot and walk through the rain to the show or park on the roof of the building where the show is, pay less and take the elevator.

In addition, I'd fully recommend getting there at 9am or even a wee bit earlier. You beat all the crowds, and you don't have to line up to get in. Also, ticket purchases. I paid via credit card, which you do using an ATM-type machine. Pretty cool and fast. Another way to avoid lines. Why did I not buy the tickets online before hand? Well because I had the young lad with me and online, you can only buy adult-priced tickets. I'm sure this is a money-making technique - you can get your kid's tickets on the web but you have to pay adult prices(= $6 extra). Plus then you have to line up to pick them up at the will-call booth.

The show itself was somewhat disappointing - i wasn't there last year, but comparing it to other years, it seemed much smaller. other years had a lot of focus on more than just cars - this year was comparatively boring. Sure there were some interesting concept cars, but over all it was a more bland affair. The Lamborghini's were nice, and the blond broad standing beside them was also .. hmm interesting. Glad to see at least one Auto company is sticking to the age-old proven method of selling cars with pretty girls!

I went to the Lamborghini area when there was no girl and I took the Murcielago photo with ease.
When girl returned, I had problems getting near the display.. hence the less sharp (but pretty good) pic!

Chrysler seemed to be the only one of the big 3 who made an effort to attract people to more than cars (apart form Lamborghini heheheh)- they had some pretty cool simulators. As ever, the line was big and not worth the wait. So on we went. .. but stayed with Chrysler - or more specific, Jeep. The new Jeep Wrangler looks the same .. just a wee bit bigger- the "waterfall" display was as good as ever - the same as ever too. The Mercedes-Benz had their display on a load of ice, with real ice towers around. Why? I guess Mercedes are getting "cool"!

The Smart ForTwo was an interesting little car - some forward-thinking by Chrysler - I like the look of it but I hope it doesn't fall flat on its face - or under the front wheel of a Hummer. Nice idea - may work in California, but not yet in Michigan. I've seen snow drifts bigger than that car. But with weather and thought evolution, who knows?

Volkswagen's display seemed to focus more on how the car's audio systems sounded than what was new with the cars. Yep, they had a concept SUV (The Tiguan), but it was a concept. I was pleased to see it had a "clean turbo diesel as an option. Good! About time that technology reached these shores. They also tell me the Toe-Rag (or Toureg) had changed but I couldn't see where. One disappointment at the VW area was the lack of injection-moulded gifts - in the past they had a contraption which took plastic pellets in one end and produced a small car out the other. This year it was replaced by a boring conveyor belt - no gifts. Darn cos cutting!

The Mini area seemed the same as any other year. I really could not see any difference.

Ford. Ford, Ford FORD! What are ya dooin? The new Focus was so bland I did not even bother wasting photo space on my memory card. Maybe I could photo a brick and be more interested. Why change a car that has recognizable image to look a late 80's regular escort? Automotive suicide! They were also still pushing hard on the "don't worry about the MPG, just look at the size of this truckI It's HUGE!. Ford, get with 2007. The did, however, have the Airstream concept. Real useful if Austin Powers is in town and needs a van.

Groovy Baby!
Ford - From Big to Daft!

GM got truck and car of the year. Yep, you told us once. Now I was pleased to see them getting more adventurous with hybrid technology. The Volt was good too. And a nice old car as well that I need to find out what it was....
Not sure what this is but looks sweet!

Here's some other bits and bobs we seen down there....

Rolls Royce were still displaying cars people can't afford.

The new Lexus Coupe. Nice. Excuse me, why are you wearing sunglasses on your head? Your eyes are on your face, and anyway, you're indoors, it is snowing outdoors, this is January, and you're in Detroit!

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