Only one week from now, the doors opens to the much-anticipated Paris Motor Show revealing the next crop of vehicles slated for introduction to various world markets. Roughly 6,000 miles away in a small Canadian city named Barrie, the new generation of automotive sales and marketing personnel is receiving lessons on promoting the latest crop of motoring innovation.
Expected to possess intuition, attentiveness as well as the dedicated knowledge of their chosen brand’s product, Georgian College devoted a large part of their institution schooling students in the automotive business. Adding legitimacy to a profession which has been affiliated with a fair share of unethical characters, students within the Canadian Automotive Institute (CAI) are given the annual Georgian College Auto Show as the showcase of their acquired knowledge from business and marketing programs. Operating as brand representatives for many of the major automotive brands of North America, the duties of the Georgian College CAI students droves deeper into the entire workings of each show meaning they are practically the driving force of this three-day event. Celebrating it’s 25th anniversary, the 2010 Georgian College Auto Show had these college students in charge of at least 100 brand new vehicles.
As an observer of an auto show with a $7 admission, you’ll enjoy a hassle-free, sales-free environment offering a chance to sample a new car, truck or SUV/crossover without the fear it might end at a office desk looking over a car loan or lease agreement. An admittedly small exhibition, the Georgian College Auto Show does provide a detailed representations of current and future automotive trends. The 2010 edition of the auto show had a collection of new releases to the automotive marketplace including the new Nissan Juke, the 2011 Honda Odyssey, the redesigned BMW 5-Series sedan and the 2011 Chevrolet Cruze.
In a massive Ford display, three Ford Fiestas, several Super Duty pick up, a 2011 Ford Edge, and a 2011 Ford Shelby GT500 offered one of the most exciting interactions of this 2010 show. All vehicles but the Shelby GT500 were open for visitors to sit in and touch throughout the weekend. Providing an interesting cross-section of the buying attitudes of modern motorists, an equal amount of attention by attendees centered on the new Fiestas as well as on the brand new, rethought 2011 Ford Explorer.
Toyota also had a bullish effort at the 2010 Georgian Auto Show showing off their just recently introduced (and most recently profiled on Automoblog.net) 2011 Toyota Highlanders in both gas or hybrid form. Brought to Canada this year, Toyota’s youth-based brand Scion made their first appearance at this auto show. Unveiling their cars to the Barrie area, the cars looked fantastic but the brand representatives of Scion had a less than ideal placement of their vehicles. Raining days prior to the show, campus’ grass field was downright soggy in areas with the Scion tent setup on muddy turf for Friday. As the show must go on, a few of the vehicles were over wooden boards so the brand’s four-car display could make the Georgian College Auto Show debut.
The Georgian College Auto Show has not been shielded from the troubles of the automotive industry. Because of the bankruptcy filing in 2009, Chrysler didn’t even have a display at last year’s show. In past auto shows Chrysler was known for bringing a concept vehicles showing the future the company wanted to once create for itself. Reemerging this year under the partnership with Fiat, the Chrysler Group returned to the 2010 auto show. Back in a big way, crowds loved the Dodge Challenger and the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee highlighting the work of Chrysler.
Though some amazing vehicles were present at this year’s Georgian College Auto Show, the vehicle crop is not as incredibly ripe as in previous years. While Ford brought their A-game as did Toyota, BMW and Mercedes-Benz tents were missing representatives of their high-performance tuner divisions. Without an AMG or an M line vehicle, the sensation in the German automaker displays did not radiate the passion of the car makers.
In my first Georgian College Auto Show I attended in 1997, a Toyota Prius when hybrid technology was little more than a pricey gimmick (for some, the attitude towards hybrids have not . In 2008 Kia, who wasn’t even present at this year’s Georgian Auto Show, brought their Soul to the inspection of Canadian buyers ahead of its debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show. Last year, two versions of the Mazda2 appeared before the Japanese auto company gave the greenlight to the vehicle’s sale in North America. As an automotive journalist, I was hoping to see more from the 2010 show products. But as an automotive enthusiast seeking a free-reign experience to sample a wide-selection of vehicle badges, this year’s Georgian College Auto Show was an excellent exploration.
Already mentioning the event as a hassle-free outing, the Georgian College Auto Show is more than just the figurative kicking of tires. Car care clinics, a Kids Zone and the Pfaff Porsche Autocross Track were all set up for a full weekend of automotive-related excitement.
With all the preparation placed into the event, the last ingredient of an outdoor auto show was weather. Occurring on the next week of September, the skilled student volunteers of the 2010 Georgian College Auto Show could not do anything to fight the unsettled weather which involved extreme heat on Friday and windy, cool conditions on the Saturday and Sunday. While the next batch of students will get a helping hand as the show is being moved to June in 2011, the ambassadors for this year’s show and automotive brands assembled a fantastic event to usher in the fall.
Information source: Georgian College
Photo source: Chris Nagy