It was an extremely emotional day today, a bit on that in another post, perhaps tomorrow.
I attended the Montreal Auto Show today with a friend, his son and my daughter. We decided to go in early, as soon as the show opened its doors in hopes of beating the crowds and apparently some 300 to 400 people decided they would do the same thing and we were stuck in a pretty long line-up for tickets. Thankfully the line went relatively quickly, we got our tickets and made our way into the show. We were greeted at the bottom of the escalator by a trio of Nissan Nismo cars, basically these are regular Nissan cars that have been given a performance and aesthetic make over by Nissan themselves.
Then we made our way up to the first of what would be three different ascensions to different levels of the exhibit hall with different car companies on each level. There was the usually array of sedans, hatchbacks, SUVs, sports cars from each of the major car companies. Conspicuously absent was Tesla, even though they were featured in the show’s small magazine, which prominently featured a Swedish supercar from Koenigsegg, that apparently was also a no-show at this year’s show, much to the dismay of my friend’s son who was hoping to get a glimpse of the Swedish mechanical marvel, and you thought they only had ABBA and IKEA, shame on you.
In any case, as if the missing cars weren’t enough, I, and this is just personal opinion, thought the line up of cars somewhat resembled each other, so much so that my friend even commented that one of the Hyundai’s from the back resembled a BMW, much to the chagrin of many luxurious Bavarian car owners I’m sure. Over all, as I walked among the many, so called mere mortal car offerings from the likes of Honda, Volkswagen, Toyota, Nissan, Chevrolet, Dodge, et al, I couldn’t help but take a peak at the small podiums prominently displaying the various features, specifications, models, and prices, oh and what prices they were. My neck hurts this evening from all the head-shaking I was doing due to the sticker shock I sustained in the three+ hours we walked around the show. Now BMW, Mercedes, Porche, Lamborghini, Ferrari and Rolls Royce podiums of course never fail to make me wonder how mortals can ever afford these cars, oh wait… they can’t. However, I was starting to question if everyone around me must make a king’s salary to be able to afford the prices I was seeing on cars that apparently I should, in theory, be able to buy. In many cases the prices were inflated due to the “as shown at the show” price, often 10-12% higher than the suggested retail price of the base model due to all the added goodies.
As often happens at these shows, I’m drawn to some of the prototypes, and this show only had a handful of offerings if that, with perhaps only a few even getting my attention.
I’m very practical when it comes to automobiles, I wasn’t always like this mind you. I did go through my supercar phase just like my friend’s son, where I had posters of Lamborghinis, Ferraris, Corvettes, right next to my obligatory poster of Farrah Fawcett in her red swim suit.
I see cars completely different now, first of all I’m of the opinion that I should be able to eat, pay my mortgage and perhaps spend some quality entertainment time with my family, AND purchase a car, from what I saw today, this might no longer be possible with the average price of new cars, so I’m relegated to buying used cars in my short to long-term future.
One car that particularly got my attention was a couple of cute little Toyota prototype electric runabout commuter vehicles. One was outfitted with a small compartment and was being touted as a small delivery vehicle, whereas the other one would be perfect for simply going to work. Get me some doors guys, it’s cold on Montreal mornings, but kidding aside, in my case this would make perfect sense as my commute is about 25 km one way and I can take secondary streets, so it could actually be feasible.
Another car that I thought might peak my curiosity was the Chevrolet BOLT, cousin to the now well established Volt. This car, I thought, was to compete against the upcoming mid-2017, early-2018 release of the more affordable Tesla Model 3 at 32,000 US.
I couldn’t have been more wrong, now unless Tesla’s pricing here in Canada is substantially more than that in the US, then the BOLT is priced waaaay to high at $47,000 CDN. Now, I realize that early adopters often pay for the research and development put into these cars and that eventually, much like computers did in the 90’s, prices will come down, however the BOLT is too expensive for what constitutes a car a bit larger than a Honda FIT.
I for one would welcome a long-range electric vehicle to compete in pricing with a small to mid-size compact car, think Toyota Yaris or Corolla, somewhere around the $16, 000 range, but until battery technology and volume production ramp up, it’s just not going to happen. I did take a good look at the Volt, well as close I could get and still like it, but not the newer generation model, I much prefer the older one with the squared off rear end, I just find it looked more like the original concept vehicle and has a more futuristic slant to it, instead of just looking like every other car.
So, were does that leave me with the car show this year? It was alright, nothing overly exciting and I no longer buy into the whole keeping up with the Jones’ hype, not that I ever really did, but other than the aforementioned Yaris and maybe some of the other sub-compact cars offered by the major constructors, at prices I can somewhat swallow and digest, there wasn’t a car that I could easily afford, and continue feeding my family. So, although it was enjoyable to see and hear my friend’s son looking at and talking about all the cars that excited him, it was rather lackluster for me.
Next month is the Montreal Motorcycle Show, NOW THAT might be a different story, stay tuned…