Yesterday, the Blogger’s Apprentice and Blogger-in-Chief (BIC) went on a field trip to check out the 2006 Washington Auto Show. Dubbed “The State of the Auto” this is the 64th time it has traveled to Washington, DC, but never before has it been this early. This year, your nation’s capitol was second only to Detroit in showcasing the hottest cars of 2006.
There are many reasons to check out the auto show: there really is something for everyone. For car enthusiasts, what’s not to love about 700 cars from 37 domestic and international manufacturers spread out over 9 acres and two show floors?
For those that are feeling kinda lucky you can try your hand (literally) at the “Hand’s On” contest where the lucky winner will drive away in a new car-if you are able to grab hold of it for the required 144 hours, that is! There was also the “Flip My Whip” which offers a $10,000 grand prize state-of-the-art custom re-styling of your existing vehicle. The Blogger’s Apprentice thought about entering, thinking about what kind of sound system $10,000 could buy.
For the Hollywood fan, what’s not to like about being able to sit inside the new BMW Z4, the successor to the Z3 which was popularized in James Bond: Golden Eye. And as the BIC would remark, for starting price of $54,000, why not get two of them?
For the environmental steward in all of us, this year had the largest showcase of fuel efficient and hybrid cars. We were even impressed when we saw a hydrogen powered Hummer! As we’ve said many times before, manufacturers are at the forefront of conservation, efficiency and new energy sources.
And for those in the market for a new car, the auto show featured cars in a well-lit spacious environment with little or no sales staff interference; so you could really check out cars without being hassled. Many manufacturers were also offering instant $500 rebate on a purchase of a new vehicle just for showing up!
Safety was big on the dealers this year as well. Virtually all new or redesigned 2006 models, from the mid sized Hyundai Sonata to the very full sized Dodge Ram Mega Cab, offer side curtain airbags as either standard equipment or as an affordable option.
If on the off-chance you weren’t in the market for a car, XM Satellite Radio had a significant presence there to whet your appetite on-complete with discounts on radios and a XM Radio Stage with lots of show personalities and bands.
It really was fun moving about all the great wonders that manufacturing has to hold. From the concept cars to the new models from all those good NAM member companies (GM, Ford, Toyota, Honda, BMW, DaimlerChrysler), it really was great to be there among it all and to feel the manufacturing vibe.