Monday, February 10, 2014

Preview for the 2014 Canadian International AutoShow


Photo Credit: Chris Nagy


As Canadians, we are once again enduring a challenging winter that has brought all the snow and cold weather we are accustomed to north of the 49th parallel. Skiing, snowmobiling or building a snowman allows many of us to maintain our humour and happiness during this season that always wallops Canada in full force. For automobiles, winter presents a period where our favourite four-wheel conveyance is expected to perform in hostile situations. Left out on frigid driveways or unheated garages, roads covered in snow and/or whatever traction solution our municipality chooses for safety, this is a time of the year where we forget the true beauty of motoring. Maybe in this month of February it is the perfect time to remind ourselves how great the automobile can be. For this reason, the arrival of the 2014 Canadian International AutoShow in Toronto is ideal.

Opening this Friday in the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, the 2014 edition of the Canadian International AutoShow will be the 41st time the Trillium Automobile Dealers Association (operating as the Toronto Automobile Dealers' Association until the 2012) will hold the exhibition. Promising over 600,000 square feet of cars, trucks, crossover, vans and vehicle-related displays, the 2014 Canadian International AutoShow is expected to welcome over 300,000 spectators from the casual motorist to the die hard auto enthusiast. From affordable subcompacts like the Chevrolet Sonic to exotic machines such as the Maserati GranTurismo, the convention property will be sheltering roughly 1,000 vehicles. Some of the new cars promised to make high profile appearance at the 2014 Canadian International AutoShow includes the 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06, Chrysler 200, Subaru WRX STI, 2015 Ford F-150 and concept cars like the Jaguar C-X17. Exhibition in both the north and south building will be dedicated to the best showpieces of each brand. For attendees wanting to see high-class vehicles barely less expensive than most Toronto homes, a special Auto Exotica display room will fill you with envy for whomever will own those pricy rides.

Aside from the new car on display, the 2014 Canadian International AutoShow will also possess a large share of classic cars. Escaping the garages where their owners have diligently managed their finest wheels, the Cruise National finalists will present some of Canada's best classic cars. Gary Fernandes's 1969 Chevrolet Camaro RS/SS Pace Car edition vehicle and Louis Losier's 1969 Plymouth SuperBee are two of the ten finalists presented for a grand judging that will see a gold, silver and bronze metal given out. In addition to the 2014 Cruise National (that has one car crowned as the gold metal award winner), past award winners on a "Classic Concours" will be assembled to celebrate ten years of Cruise National events occurring within the Canadian International AutoShow. A Muscle Car Alley, Sport Compact Evolution and a special display for Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame inductee Ron Fellows is also occupying floor space inside the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

A new automotive-related presentation called the AutoConnect Showcase will also be a major component of the 2014 Canadian International AutoShow. With the imminent likelihood of more technology such as advanced electronic media suites and even autonomous driving nearing, the AutoConnect Showcase will provide an education of what motoring in the near future will entail.

The 2014 Canadian International AutoShow opens on Valentine's day February 14th and runs until Sunday, February 23rd. If you are planning to attend, be sure to keep you eyes peeled for discounts during the week of the show as well as on the auto show's website. Ahead of the 2014 Canadian International AutoShow, please feel free to view some of my images taken at last year's exhibition.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Automakers Squeak-Out Cool Sales Gain Despite Chilly Canadian Weather

Photo Credit: Chris Nagy

The so-called Polar Vortex mixed up the Canadian automobile sales during the first month of 2014. A cold, snowy weather is believed to have kept car buyers at home in January from some dealerships while others posted modest gains.

According to Automotive News, a total of 95,639 vehicles were sold in Canada during January 2014. Compared to 2013, the start indicates a modest 0.3 percent growth. The overall sales results were influenced by a dip in car sales and a healthy rise in truck sales; not surprising based the weather affecting the country.

The winners in first month Canadian auto sales of 2014 is Chrysler, Toyota and Honda. Chrysler car and truck sales showed a healthy climb of roughly four percent apiece. The expanded Fiat brand in North America is proving to be well-received accounting for 596 vehicles (an 82 percent jump over January 2013). The Dodge Grand Caravan remains popular in Canada selling nine percent more examples than the previous start of the year.

Toyota's three brands of vehicles contributed to a 10.6 percent better Canadian sales start in 2014. Toyota saw 221 percent growth in the sale of their family-friendly, made in Canada RAV4 crossover (the Toyota RAV4 was redesigned in 2013 and was just being released last January). Also featuring a large vehicle manufacturing presence in Canada, Honda posted Canadian automotive sales 10 percent greater than 2013.

Suffering a difficult start to 2014 among Canadian consumers is Ford and General Motors. Ford's overall sales fell 10.3 percent to 14,533 vehicles. Despite the push to market the Focus, Fiesta and Fusion, F-Series pickup truck sales accounted for almost 81 percent of all Canadian vehicles sold in January 2014. General Motors' Canadian sales of 10,991 signaled a 20 percent drop compared to 2013. The Chevrolet Cruze have been slow sellers at dealerships with 42 percent fewer finding their way to Canadian drivers in January 2014 compared to the previous year.