The Minneapolis Auto Show has finally arrived. I must admit that I look forward to the show every year. The show is not large compared to others and, in reality, many concept cars go to the larger shows and skip us. The reason I like our show is it is local and I am on my own time. I can go with my friends with no scheduled agenda. The big shows like Chicago and Detroit are a lot of fun but this is just different having a show near home.
The show was busier then I expected. I talked to quite a few people that noted how the attendance numbers were up from last year already on the second day of the show. The economy is in a slightly better place and car sales are starting to pick up and the attendance at the show is reflecting it. I am guessing that Ford was a major sponsor this year as many new Taurus’s were strewn about outside of the entrances. I overheard several consumers commenting on how they liked the look of the new Taurus and most didn’t even know what it was.
Some of the highlights included the special edition Synergy Green Camaro and the Silverado ZR2 Concept truck from Chevrolet. Though many General Motors concept cars were missing, I was surprised to see the Cadillac Converj concept at the Cadillac Stand. Ford had the new 2011 Edge along with the new 2011 Fiesta Sedan. The updated 2011 Shelby GT500 Mustang was on the show floor with the hood open and, although the doors were locked, it was what was under the hood that was important. Audi had the mighty R8 5.2 in a copper brown color with carbon fiber side blades.
Some things I noted about the show: BMW, Porsche Infiniti were all absent. While a few talked about Porsche, I’m not sure anyone noticed Infiniti was gone and the largest complaint of the show that I heard was “Where’s BMW?” I spoke with one of the local BMW dealerships and they said that their research indicates that they do not sell enough cars by being at the auto show to warrant the expense. This absence just gave the competition such as Audi and Mercedes-Benz a chance to have BMW owners sit in their cars. Another anomaly was Nissan. They found it important to have the GT-R with a base price of $80,790 but not to have a 370Z, which starts at $29,990. I was told that the reason was, “That is what they sent us…”. Not a terribly good answer in my opinion.
I personally think many manufactures should take notes more from Ford. They have been building terrific booths at the shows lately. They engage the consumers and have a lot to look at, and I am not just talking product. There are interactive games such as foosball and driving simulators not to mention the computers filled with information.
Overall the show was better then last year. With more manufacturers in attendance and consumer attendance up, the atmosphere was a bit more upbeat. The Minneapolis Auto Show’s tag line is “Your License to Dream” and I believe that is exactly what this show did for many consumers this year and with the products coming in the next year, I am sure next year will be even better for consumers.