Friday, December 05, 2008

WINDS OF CHANGE!!!!

2009 ARIZONA AUTO SHOW, SHORT AND SIMPLE!

Over the holiday weekend we visited the annual car show that was held at the all new Phoenix Convention Center in down town. This visit spun much excitement for me, as I see a shift towards the right direction for automakers, fuel efficiency and thinking green. Maybe you might argue that the BIG THREE had to shift out of economic necessity. This may be true, and anyone who doesn't have their head in the sand and has been watching the news lately knows that we are at a crossroads, economically and environmentally. It's time to recognize that hey crude oil is a finite resource, and our nation's dependence on it for the only fuel source is beyond idiotic. Would the BIG THREE continue with foolhardy attempt of business as usual? I hope not.

Well, the auto show was interesting, my last visit was to the 2006 show and my mindset back then was slightly different than it is now. Yes, back then I was still looking at Hybrids and more fuel efficient cars, but I was also looking at the cool cars and trucks. This year, my thoughts were fuel efficiency and the environment. Okay, some cool cars were on the agenda as well. You'll see it in the upcoming video.

In the past I never paid much attention to visitors' idle chatter or conversations around the cars that I was sampling. In the years that I attended the show, the first one that I attended in AZ was 1995, I've had only one incident with a patron that was what I would consider a negative interaction. At the 2000 auto show, myself and two friends sat in the all new Toyota Echo, and the conversation was admittedly negative. As far as looks and feel, we felt that it was the worst car in the Toyota line and that we wished that they would bring back the Tercel. We weren't downing it for its fuel efficiency, it had one of the best, but I could strap some RC motors on a skateboard and call it fuel efficient, wouldn't be pleasing to drive. We expressed that opinion amongst ourselves inside the car. Unbeknown to us that a proud owner of an Echo was within earshot, she stuck her ugly face in the passenger window and blurted out, "MY HUSBAND AND I BOUGHT ONE OF THESE AND WE LOVE IT." She then walked away. I think that she was within earshot when my friend from the rear seat retorted at an elevated level, "I'M SORRY… FOR YOU!!!!"

Recently, I do believe that my mindset has changed when I visit these venues. I want to know what is on the minds of the average American. I want to know if I am alone in wanting to see less dependence on foreign oil. I am not, but I want to hear it from people who not just environmentalist or economists. So as I admired and took pictures of the cars, I heard some of the conversations, and I wasn't trying to listen either. For what I gathered from that alone, and mind you this is no way scientific, people are looking at cars more economically and conservatively. Many liked the idea of alternative fuels and hybrids. Many were commenting on the EPA ratings on the vehicles and the lack of ratings on others. But having your ears open can lead to hearing the other side as well.

I was in the Volkswagen section and a group of guys walked by and made comments about how these aren't cars for a real man. They proceeded to Chevy to look for a full sized Silverado. I'll save my comments on that for the next blog entry. And it gets worse. "Ha, I'll buy a Volvo, as soon as you buy an Audi," and sadly they were serious. Then the finale… We were walking from Chrysler to Toyota and one lady made a comment after her husband made positive comments about how he liked the direction that car companies are going with the green and fuel efficiency. He liked what was available now. "These cars are too small; I'd rather have a full-sized SUV."

Well, until the next car show…

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