Thursday, March 4, 2021

Canadian International AutoShow Revisited: 2012 Edition

2012 Canadian International Auto Show Mazda Show Space
Photo Credit: Chris Nagy/Car FYI Canada

Theme of the Show: The Next Dimension

By the time of the 2012 Canadian International AutoShow, I have attended the event for three consecutive years prior and twice on media day. There was a heightened sense of pep during the 2012 festivities each year since 2010 at this show featuring a lot of new vehicles with bold personalities. Between the manufacturer displays and the special exhibitions giving up a rare opportunity to see many historical vehicles for myself, the single day I attended the show flew by. 

With the notable vehicles I’m highlighting in this recap of the 2012 auto show in Toronto, there are a few omissions I’ve decided to leave out due to the article already being longer than I intended. The Mercedes-Benz SL 550, Audi Allroad, Scion FR-S, Infiniti Etherera and Mazda Shinari are among the splendid vehicles I regret having to cut. 

Notable Vehicles:

Ford Fusion

2012 Canadian International Auto Show 2013 Ford Fusion
Photo Credit: Chris Nagy/Car FYI Canada

Showcasing the Focus compact in 2010 as well as the Focus Electric and C-Max at the following year’s Canadian International AutoShow, Ford Motor Company’s 2012 presentation at the event was one even more busy. In the middle of Ford’s ambitious plan of rolling out completely new or heavily-updated vehicles, the auto company’s attention turned to a dramatic redesign of their mid-sized sedan. Instantly creating a sensation with its Aston Martin-influenced exterior design that also married cues from the Evos Concept, the 2013 Ford Fusion featured a longer stance and increased powerplant diversity. In addition to three gasoline engines arriving with the Fusion for the 2013 model year, a hybrid and plug-in hybrid version would also be sold on the sedan’s architecture. The Ford Fusion would become a casualty of the automaker’s refocus on constructing crossover and trucks for the North American market with exception to the Mustang. Being a strong seller, the Fusion mid-sized sedan’s demise outlived the Focus and Taurus (both continue to survive overseas). Sales of the Focus in the United States dropped almost 64 percent from its peak between 2013 and 2020. In Canada, the sales decline of the Fusion was more substantial during the same time period with 5,152 sales in 2020 accounting for almost a quarter of the vehicle’s sales peak in 2013. 

Acura NSX Concept 

2012 Canadian International Auto Show acura nsx concept 3
Photo Credit: Chris Nagy/Car FYI Canada


At the arrival of the 1990s, Honda would enter the decade with a vehicle that tested the limits of the auto company’s engineering and design in a manner no other production car had done at the time. An all-out high performance sports car, NSX was more than an attention-grabbing mid-engined machine. The sports car would be an exhibit in motion of innovations such as VTEC engine, electric power steering and extensive aluminum construction that Honda would adopt across their vehicle line in the future. For Canadian audiences, the NSX was a stunning halo vehicle in the lineup of luxury brand Acura until 2000. At the 2012 Canadian International AutoShow, a full-size concept mockup of the resurrection of the Acura NSX hinted at the exterior for what would become a hybrid, all-wheel drive performance car. The NSX Concept’s 2012 appearance in Toronto would be part of a journey of development that would not bear fruit for Acura dealerships until the middle of 2016.

BMW Vision ConnectedDrive

2012 Canadian International Auto Show BMW Vision Connecteddrive image
Photo Credit: Chris Nagy/Car FYI Canada


Debuting to the world in Geneva almost a full year prior to the 2012 Canadian International AutoShow, the BMW Vision ConnectedDrive concept was a two-door roadster that was not meant to dazzle with speed. Instead, the stunning low-profile vehicle served as an exercise for how BMW could create a design that merges time-tested elements of sport driving with sophisticated technologies. In addition to the BMW Vision ConnectedDrive’s long hood and short windscreen, the exterior design also featured sensors embedded into the front and rear lights while antennas are located where the side mirrors would normally be placed. The driver of the Vision ConnectedDrive would have access to a programmable instrument panel and a three-dimensional Head-Up Display system. A unique information centre on the passenger side of the concept allowed for a co-pilot experience where the occupant could process navigation details. 

Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

2012 Canadian International Auto Show camaro zl1 2012
Photo Credit: Chris Nagy/Car FYI Canada


Unwilling to allow the Ford Mustang-based Shelby GT500 to continue to go uncontested as a super-high performance pony car, Chevrolet revived their ‘ZL1' moniker as they unveiled the most powerful Camaro ever built. Dropping a supercharged 6.2-liter LSA V-8 engine under the uniquely shaped hood of the 2013 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, up to 580 horsepower and 556 lb-ft of torque would be available to the driver. Capable of accelerating from 0 to 100 kilometers per hour in four seconds, top speed for the 2013 Camaro ZL1 was 184 miles per hour (296.1 kilometers per hour). Beyond the LSA powerplant, key components for the Chevrolet ZL1 included a beefed-up differential, Brembo brakes, coolers for engine oil, transmission and differential fluids as well as optional Magnetic Ride Control. Arriving for sale first as a hardtop, a Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 Convertible would be offered for the 2014 model year.  

2013 Ford Escape

2012 Canadian International Auto Show ford escape blue
Photo Credit: Chris Nagy/Car FYI Canada


Ford’s small sport utility vehicle, the Escape, had grown to become a hot-selling product in the major American auto brand’s lineup by 2012. In 2011, the Ford Escape sold at a record high number in the United States even as a complete re-engineering for the vehicle was planned for the 2013 model year. This all-new Escape appearing at the 2012 Canadian International AutoShow was more than just a substantial styling update. Available power from a new line of turbocharged EcoBoost engines, hands-free power tailgate and carpets made from recycled plastic bottles are some of the features incorporated on the 2013 Ford Escape. Although the 2013 Escape immediately continued the momentum of the previous generation vehicle, vehicles equipped with the 1.6-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder powerplant would be subject of several recalls. In the first issued in July of 2012, Ford Escapes packaged with the before-mentioned engine for a fuel line defect led the automakers to instruct owners not to drive the vehicles. Later in the same year, a coolant leak concern was the source for a second recall. The troubles with the 1.6-liter EcoBoost powerplant didn’t appear to affect sales for the new generation Escape. More than 52,000 Ford Escapes were sold in Canada through the 2014 calender year. In the United States, the crossover vehicle sold more than 300,000 units each year from 2014 to 2017. 

Jaguar C-X16

2012 Canadian International Auto Show ford escape blue
Photo Credit: Chris Nagy/Car FYI Canada


By 2012, British luxury car brand Jaguar was on course to revitalize their entire product line. A new Jaguar XJ sedan was released two years earlier and there were several hints at possible products for the future. The Jaguar C-X16 concept car shown on the floors of the 2012 Canadian International AutoShow drew crowds to what would be the shape for the marque’s upcoming sports car. The C-X16 concept car’s contribution to Jaguar’s F-Type is impossible to miss. The headlamp design and front air dam on the Jaguar C-X16 are identical to the production car while the entire silhouette shares its adherence to the timeless style of the E-Type hardtop. One characteristic found with the C-X16 that has yet to translate into one of Jaguar’s sports cars is a hybrid powerplant. A supercharged 3.0-liter V-6 engine was paired with a 70-kilowatt electric motor succeeding to propel the Jaguar C-X16 from 0 to 100 kilometers per hour in 4.4 seconds while obtaining impressive fuel mileage.

MINI Inspired by Goodwood

2012 Canadian International Auto Show MINI Goodwood 2
Photo Credit: Chris Nagy/Car FYI Canada


Have you ever wondered how a MINI Cooper would appear if Rolls-Royce built it? In 2011, the fantasy was brought to life thanks to BMW Group’s ownership of both brands. The Diamond Black Metallic MINI Inspired by Goodwood brought to the 2012 Canadian International AutoShow would be one of only a thousand examples of one of the most extravagant compact cars on the market. Lounge leather seats finished in a Rolls-Royce sourced colour scheme Cornsilk, Lambwool floor mats, cashmere headliner and sun visors as well as interior grab handles made in a burr walnut veneer are among the unique luxury touches applied to the cabin of the exclusive Mini Cooper. A turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder propelled the MINI Inspired by Goodwood that rode on 17-inch light alloy wheels. American pricing for the limited edition MINI was $52,000 including a $700 destination charge. The MINI Inspired by Goodwood may be one of the smallest vehicles to feature such a strong linage with Rolls-Royce.

Subaru XV Crosstrek

Subaru XV Crosstrek at 2012 Canadian International AutoShow
Photo Credit: Chris Nagy/Car FYI Canada


An auto brand credited in part for pioneering the modern merger of a car-like profile with truck-styled versatility, Subaru made an addition to the North American crossover vehicle portfolio for the 2013 model year with the XV Crosstrek. Based on the same platform as the compact Impreza, the Subaru XV Crosstrek boasted an appearance combining elements of ruggedness and sport. The 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek distinguishes itself with a uniquely aggressive front end, 8.7 inches of ground clearance, body-colour matching spoiler and an interior featuring a multifunction display as well as plenty of storage. Subaru’s newest crossover incorporated the brand’s customary Symmetrical All-Wheel Driver paired with Boxer engine. Achieving a fuel economy of 7.1 liters per 100 kilometers on the highway, the XV Crosstrek lineup would add a hybrid model for the 2014 model year improving city fuel consumption. The ‘XV’ was dropped from the Subaru Crosstrek brand in 2016.     

Dodge Dart

2012 Canadian International Auto Show Toronto Dodge Dart by Mopar
Photo Credit: Chris Nagy/Car FYI Canada


Almost named the Zipp at its name of release in 1959 for the 1960 model year, the Dodge Dart was an instant sales success being a stylish, powerful and versatile model. The Dart played a major role in cementing the Dodge brand as the sixth most popular in the United States during 1960 selling 210,000 vehicles more than the previous year. In 1963, the Dart name would be attached to Dodge’s dependable compact entry and would remain in the role until 1976. In 2012, the Chrysler Group/Fiat Group merger was still on a path to determine how to revibrate the North American product lineup by finding synergies with vehicles from their Italian suitor. Replacing the aging Dodge Caliber, the new 2013 Dart would use a modified platform based on the Alfa Romeo Giulietta. Existing only as a four-door sedan, the 2013 Dodge Dart featured standard power from a 2.0-liter Tigershark four-cylinder engine paired with a six-speed manual transmission. A larger 2.4-liter powerplant and a turbocharged engine were also offered on higher trim levels. Starting price for the 2013 Dodge Dart was $15,995 in both the United States and Canada. Though the vehicle attempted to capture Dodge’s brand personality and boasted an available taillamp assembly with 152 LEDs, 8.4-inch touchscreen and customization offered with more than 150 Mopar accessories, the Dart failed to resonate with drivers and the model was dropped in Canada after the 2016 model year.

Volkswagen Bulli Concept

2012 Canadian International Auto Show volkswagen bulli concept small
Photo Credit: Chris Nagy/Car FYI Canada


Currently in 2021, Volkswagen is actively at work introducing a fully electric vehicle family under the ID brand with the ID.4 set to be sold in Canada this summer. Back in 2012, the German auto company’s push to be acknowledged as a more green automaker was largely focused on their TDI diesel engine program. However, following the much-publicized ‘Dieselgate’ emission scandal where an investigation found Volkswagen had installed software that greatly concealed real-world NOx emissions, the auto company largely abandoned their TDI engines in favour of electrified motoring. About three years before the genesis of Dieselgate, Volkswagen had done some exploration into battery electric vehicles with the Bulli concept being one of the most attractive examples. Debuting at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show, the Volkswagen Bulli was clearly a vehicle for the future with a sleek, compact profile and LED lighting but contained a healthy dose of the German automaker’s classic styling DNA. The Bulli concept’s two-tone red and white paired with a large Volkswagen crest on the front calls back to their famous T1 microbus. Capable of transporting six occupants, the Volkswagen Bulli concept’s power comes from an 85-kilowatt electric motor fed by a 40-kilowatt-hour battery with an estimated travel range of 186 miles.

2013 Ford Shelby GT500 

Ford Shelby GT500 Convertible at 2012 Canadian International Auto Show
Photo Credit: Chris Nagy/Car FYI Canada


While the Ford Mustang became an instant success as a sporty and affordable vehicle that catered to a large young driver market of the 1960s, it was the work of Carroll Shelby that made the pony car into a ferocious performance machine. On May 10th of 2012, the famous Texan would pass at the age of 89 leaving a legacy on the street and the race track. One of the last Ford Mustangs to wear Carroll Shelby’s name, the 2013 Ford Shelby GT500 arrived as the zenith of pony car muscle. The Shelby GT500 became one of the most powerful Ford Mustang available through showrooms propelled by a supercharged 5.8-liter V-8 engine generating 662 horsepower and 631 lb-ft of torque. With this power production, the 2013 Ford Shelby GT500 could launch from 0 to 60 miles per hour (96.56 kilometers per hour) in 3.5 seconds. In order to handle the excessive power Ford added an upgraded six-speed manual transmission and a carbon fiber driveshaft. Standard Brembo six-piston aluminum front brake calipers, forged aluminum wheels mounted to Goodyear F1 SuperCar tires and optional Bilstein adjustable dampers are also linked to the 2013 Ford Shelby GT500. On display at the 2012 Canadian International AutoShow was a Deep Impact Blue Shelby GT500 convertible. With only 808 total Ford Shelby GT500 convertibles made for the 2013 model year, 135 was matched with the Deep Impact Blue colour combination.

Bugatti Veyron

Bugatti Veyron 16.4 at 2012 Canadian International Auto Show
Photo Credit: Chris Nagy/Car FYI Canada


A French automaker that won the 24 Hours of Le Mans wins and a number grand prix victories prior to the modern Formula 1 championship, Bugatti was such a finely-engineered luxury vehicle that an engine gasket was not required. A brand revived as a subsidiary under Volkswagen AG, the Bugatti created a hypercar of incredible prestige and performance called the Veyron. Named after early French race car driver Pierre Veyron who was also a test driver of Bugatti vehicles during the 1930s, the nearly 1,000 horsepower performance car commanded the attention of the truly rich. The Bugatti Veyron 16.4 featured a W-16 engine mated to a dual-clutch transmission and permanent all-wheel drive combining to propel the vehicle to 253 miles per hour. First sold in 2005, the Veyron 16.4 hypercar was still observed as a world-topping machine that also included faster editions in later years. Valued at a cost of roughly 2-million Canadian dollars, a blue Bugatti Veyron 16.4 with its trademark horseshoe-shaped grille created quite a stir as a centerpiece of the Auto Exotica display for the 2012 edition of the Toronto auto show. 

Special Exhibitions:

Classic Concourse: Triumph 

1935 Triumph Gloria Black at 2012 CIAS
Photo Credit: Chris Nagy/Car FYI Canada


A space that celebrated American predominantly American performance the past two years, the level 700 of the Metro Toronto Convention Centre hosted the vehicles of a former British auto brand for 2012. Best known for the Spitfire, Sprite and the TR6 sports cars, the Triumph Motor Company had roots dating back to 1885 but was dissolved in 1984 by its eventual parent British Leyland. A marque defined by small, sporty coupes, Triumph’s Canadian International AutoShow presence would consist of a collection of vehicles dating back to the pre-second world war Gloria. Altogether, the display contained several Triumph Standard variants, a pair of stylish Italian-constructed Triumphs called the Italia, a race car version of the GT6+ and the V-8 powered Triumph Stag. Of course, a full range of sports cars defining the brand’s iconic ‘TR’ family also featured prominently ranging from the TR2 to the TR8.      

Eco-Drive Showcase

2012 Canadian International Auto Show Eco Drive Showcase Fisker Karma
Photo Credit: Chris Nagy/Car FYI Canada


A product of the first modern push towards electrified by major automakers as well as variety of new start-up companies, the 2012 Canadian International AutoShow gathered mild hybrids, plug-in hybrids and fully battery powered vehicles in the Eco-Drive Showcase presented by CAA. Along with the Chevrolet Volt, Nissan Leaf as well as hybrids from Kia, Honda and Porsche, the Eco-Drive Showcase shined light on some opportunistic companies looking to grab a piece of the growing transportation pie. Via Motors (a company with former Chrysler and General Motors executive Bob Lutz recently installed a chairman in 2012) presented the VTRUX Crew Cab Truck based on the Chevrolet Silverado operating as a plug-in hybrid. Perhaps the most captivating item on display in the exhibit was the Fisker Karma luxury sport sedan. While Fisker Automotive would collapse in 2014 after a series of setbacks, the car produced by the automaker endures as the similar Karma Revero. In 2021, a new auto company wearing Henrik Fisker’s surname is slated to make its debut with the Ocean, an all-electric crossover vehicle. 

Auto Exotica

Pagani Zonda at 2012 CIAS
Photo Credit: Chris Nagy/Car FYI Canada


For the second year, Toronto’s grandest auto show assembled a high-end collection of old and new exotics in a special exhibit. Stepping inside Auto Exotica, the sense of automotive wealth and prestige surrounded occupants. In addition to the previously-mentioned Bugatti Veyron 16.4, exotics part of the 2012 Auto Exotica presentation included a Pagani Zonda finished in a carbon fiber exterior finish, a Ferrari 458 Spider, Bentley Mulsanne and a Lamborghini Gallardo LP570-4 Super Trofeo Stradale.

Cruise Nationals 

Cruise Nationals 1969 Camaro RS Z28 at 2012 CIAS
Photo Credit: Chris Nagy/Car FYI Canada


The eighth iteration of Cruise Nationals consisted of 10 great examples of the classic and custom cars are carefully selected from 60 finalists from regional cruise events held during the summer of 2011. The featured at the Canadian International AutoShow in Toronto included a red 1934 Ford with a supercharged GM 355 engine, a 1960 Ford Sunliner Convertible and a 1967 Chevrolet Chevelle SS 396 recreation. For the 2012 Cruise Nationals, the grand champion gold medalist was the 1969 Chevrolet Camaro RS Z/28 owned by Mira and Blair Bozak. A Plum Crazy Purple coloured 1970 Dodge Charger R/T SE took the silver medal while the bronze was given to a 1958 Ford Fairlane 500 Skyliner with a retractable hardtop.

Saturday, February 27, 2021

Canadian International AutoShow Revisited: 2011 Edition

2011 Canadian International Auto Show ford c-max
Photo Credit: Chris Nagy/Car FYI Canada

Theme of the Show: Discover Connect Experience

The 2011 Canadian International AutoShow left me with the thought of how much could change between a 12-month span (perhaps that is more apparent in 2021). After a somewhat subdued 2010 car show in Toronto, the last year brought a deep sense of excitement in many forms. Design, performance and innovation were all part of an auto show that started with an aerobatic display part of Ford’s media presentation unveiling the C-Max and the Focus Electric. 

Along with the welcoming presence of new vehicles from major automakers, the 2011 Canadian International AutoShow was the first to feature a dedicated display of some of the most opulent vehicles to be found in the country. 

Notable Vehicles:

Ford Focus Electric

2011 Canadian International Auto Show ford focus electric front
Photo Credit: Chris Nagy/Car FYI Canada

The auto company that played a huge role in directing the automobile to gasoline propulsion, Ford Motor Company sought a manner to begin the conversion to battery powered motoring that would be as fruitful as the Model T. The Focus Electric used the basis of a five-door hatchback as the blue oval’s first widely available road-going all-electric vehicle. Propelled through a permanent magnet traction motor generating an impressive 188 lb-ft of torque and fed by energy from a climate-controlled, 23-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack, the 2012 Ford Focus Electric came heavily-loaded with standard features including 17-inch wheels, MyFord Touch with MyView and a nine-speaker audio system. When the Ford Focus Electric was released later in 2012, the vehicle sold in very small numbers in Canada. Similar to the Chevrolet Volt, a higher than palatable starting price likely hindered the Ford Focus Electric grander impact on the automotive market. In Canada, the starting price for the 2012 Focus Electric was $41,199 though tax credits existed in the province of Ontario and in Quebec beginning with the 2012 calendar year. The Focus Electric’s rated driving range of 76 miles (122.3 kilometers) was also a major deterrent for many customers. 

Mini Paceman Concept

2011 Canadian International Auto Show mini paceman
Photo Credit: Chris Nagy/Car FYI Canada

The three-door hatchback shape of the original Mini is a vehicle that could be quickly identified by even budding automotive enthusiasts. When the compact car was re-imagined and released for the 21st century, the three-door body style was pivotal to the Mini Cooper’s existence. Planning to make an ambitious, new step for the Mini brand with the planned release of the five-door crossover called the Countryman in 2011. As the Mini Countryman was being prepared for dealerships, the marque shared a design proposal for a three-door version of their new crossover vehicle. Debuting at the 2011 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, the Mini Paceman Concept featured a sporty take on the compact crossover with 19-inch wheels, a ‘helmet’ roof and a 1.6-liter twin-scroll turbocharged engine from the Mini John Cooper Works package. Mini’s ALL4 permanent all-wheel drive system distributed the power from the 211 horsepower engine of the Paceman Concept. B the time the concept vehicle arrived at the 2011 Canadian International AutoShow Mini had already confirmed production of the three-door companion to the Countryman. The Mini Paceman Concept arrived for sale in the 2013 model year but was withdrawn from the brand’s lineup after 2016. 

Audi TT RS

2011 Canadian International Auto Show Audi TTRS
Photo Credit: Chris Nagy/Car FYI Canada

After more than two decades on sale in Canada entering 2021, Audi’s TT sports car popularly applied the German premium brand’s distinctive style with accessible performance. Considered a challenger to the Porsche Boxster and the BMW Z4, the Audi TT’s ace has been the availability of quattro all-wheel drive. Though an attractive machine in North America in 2009, Audi initially forgot audiences on the west side of the Atlantic Ocean when they made the compact sports car the latest member of their high performance ‘RS’ lineup. Combining a turbocharged 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine with quattro all-wheel drive, the Audi TT RS was hard to ignore leading to an aggressive push to bring the car to the United States and Canada. In 2011, North America’s version of the TT RS would be moved by 335 horsepower (bumped to 360 horsepower ahead of its 2012 model year launch) channelled to the wheels through a six-speed manual transmission. Only offered in the hardtop body style in Canada, the TT RS would be able to rocket from 0 to 100 kilometers per hour in 4.3 seconds.  

Lexus LFA

Chris Nagy 2011 Canadian International Auto Show 805 Lexus LFA
Photo Credit: Chris Nagy/Car FYI Canada

Debuting as a brand in North America in late 1989, the Lexus marque has done a fine job establishing contemporary luxury alongside parent brand Toyota’s devotion to quality. Lexus also gained recognition for being a forerunner in the employment of hybrid drivetrain technology and their 2007 Lexus LS sedan that employed an automated parallel parking assist system. In 2009, the premium brand would seek the greatest attention in its two decades in the public eye revealing Lexus’ first high-performance supercar. The Lexus LFA displayed high speed extremes featuring a car make’s design language in its loudest presentation. A low road-hugging profile and sharp lines were shaped with the extensive use of carbon fiber reinforced plastic for the body as well as the chassis of the LFA supercar. Propelled through a 552-horsepower 4.8-liter V-10 engine linked to a Formula 1-style Automated Sequential Gearbox capable of lightning-fast shifts, the Lexus LFA moved from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 3.6 seconds and achieved a top speed of 202 miles per hour (325 kilometers per hour). The Lexus LFA appearing at the 2011 Canadian International AutoShow in Toronto was only 1 of 500 examples that would roll out of Toyota’s Motomachi plant. With a retail price of $375,000 US when production started in late 2010, buyers of the Lexus LFA initially accepted a two-year lease before purchasing. 

2012 Hyundai Veloster

Chris Nagy 2011 Canadian International Auto Show 614 Hyundai Veloster
Photo Credit: Chris Nagy/Car FYI Canada

As Hyundai began to climb the automotive world, their expansion consisted heavily of developing leading examples of vehicles in existing categories such as the Elantra, Sonata and Santa Fe. However, the South Korean-based automaker’s rise would include a share of unique, personality-filled products. The dynamically-styled 2012 Hyundai Veloster appearance at the 2011 Canadian International AutoShow made an ambitious move to check off the wants of many buyers. For sport compact performance fans, the Veloster featured a slick exterior with a sloping roof line as well as ample momentum from a 138-horsepower 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine. Hyundai’s Gamma engine paired with a new EcoShift dual-clutch transmission satisfied fuel savers with highway fuel consumption of 4.9 liters per 100 kilometers. Finally, the Hyundai Veloster’s category-leading interior space as well as a unique third door gave buyers a sensational sense of practicality. Going on sale in Canada at a base price less than $20,000 for the 2012 model year, the Hyundai Veloster sold briskly   

HTT Plethore LC-750

2011 Canadian International Auto Show HTT Plethore Rear
Photo Credit: Chris Nagy/Car FYI Canada

Canada has a long-running history of manufacturing vehicles for auto companies but the country has not had a brand we could attach our national pride. Described as Canada’s exclusive supercar, the HTT Plethore LC-750 was conceived by a Quebec-based start-up. Appearing within the Concorso Exotica exhibition at the 2011 Canadian International AutoShow, the striking Plethore LC-750 utilized carbon fiber in the construction of the body and the monocoque chassis that is reinforced with a roll cage structure. Accessed through remote-controlled scissor doors, a three-passenger interior with the driver centrally positioned allows the supercar to operate with near 50/50 weight distribution. The power source for the HTT Plethore LC-750 was a mid-mounted supercharged 7.0-liter V-8 engine rated with to produce 750 horsepower through a six-speed sequential transmission. A twin-camera rear viewing system and large 15-inch AP Racing disc brakes are among other features included on the Canadian-built supercar. Intended as a low volume premium vehicle, the exact number of Plethore LC-750 supercar produced by HTT Automobile has not been clearly specified.  

Subaru Hybrid Tourer Concept

Chris Nagy 2011 Canadian International Auto Show 850 Subaru tourer concept
Photo Credit: Chris Nagy/Car FYI Canada

By 2011, every automaker was required to answer the question regarding their plans in regards to improving the efficiency of their product lineups. A small but revered auto company, Subaru responded to the future of motoring with a bold concept. First shown at the 2009 Tokyo Motor Show, the Subaru Hybrid Tourer Concept demonstrated a merging of the brand’s all-wheel drive and boxer-style engine with electric propulsion. During normal driving, a 2.0-liter four-cylinder gasoline would move the front wheels of the Hybrid Tourer Concept while a rear-mounted 27-kilowatt electric motor that propels the rear wheels at low speeds or when extra power is required. Slightly shorter than a Subaru Legacy sedan at the auto company’s Toronto display in 2011, the Hybrid Tourer Concept boasted a highly ergonomic interior accessed through gullwing doors. The concept car also touted Subaru’s advanced electronic safety technology named EyeSight. For the 2022 model year, Subaru’s EyeSight technology is available on all models.    

Saab 9-4X

Chris Nagy 2011 Canadian International Auto Show Saab 94x
Photo Credit: Chris Nagy/Car FYI Canada

Entering 2011, the future of Swedish auto company Saab appeared to be looking up on the surface. Affiliated and later owned by General Motors for more than two decades, the bankruptcy by the American auto conglomerate eventually led to Dutch sport car company Spyker N.V. purchasing Saab. The deal not only maintained a supply deal with GM for the 9-3 and 9-5 but secured the release of the Saab 9-4X crossover constructed on the same platform as the recently-renewed Cadillac SRX. Available with a 3.0-liter naturally-aspirated engine and a turbocharged 2.8-liter V-6 powerplant for the Aero trim level, the 2011 Saab 9-4X featured some of the brand’s design trademarks on the outside and an ignition button on the center console part of the interior. Under the new ownership arrangement, Saab had plans to build a successor to the 9-3 and made an agreement to use BMW powerplants with the upcoming vehicle. Unfortunately, the Spyker-owned Saab ran out of capital into 2011 and would file for their bankruptcy before the year ended. Lasting two model years, only 814 examples of the Saab 9-4X were produced. 

Nissan Leaf

Chris Nagy 2011 Canadian International Auto Show nissan leaf
Photo Credit: Chris Nagy/Car FYI Canada

With numerous of concept or production promoting hybrid and battery electric propulsion during recent Canadian International AutoShow event one vehicle appearing at the show’s 2011 edition would be historically recognized with a more enduring reputation the before-mentioned Ford Focus Electric as well as the Chevrolet Volt. A compact yet efficiently designed all-electric hatchback, the Nissan Leaf would play a major role in mobilizing drivers seeking an alternative to the internal combustion engine. Among the 2011 Leaf’s key features were a low drag coefficient, an 80-kilowatt AC synchronous electric motor, remote connectivity to the vehicle through CARWINGS telematics system (later known as NissanConnect) and a 24 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack comprising of 48 modules. Charging of the 2011 Nissan Leaf is accomplished through ports located behind a front panel with a 220-volt quick charging port available capable of replenishing the lithium-ion battery to 80 percent in 30 minutes. Despite having an EPA-rated driving range of 117 kilometers, the early Nissan Leaf proved popular with nearly 100,000 vehicles sold worldwide after three full years on the market with nearly total 1,000 units sold in Canada by the end of 2013.

Special Exhibitions:

Icons: Chevrolet Camaro and Pontiac Firebird Showcase

2011 Canadian International Auto Show camaro pace cars
Photo Credit: Chris Nagy/Car FYI Canada

A year later a display devoted to Carroll Shelby, a man who contributed in striking fear in the hearts of fans of General Motors’ bow tie and arrowhead badges during the 1960s, the 2011 Canadian International AutoShow gave the Chevrolet Camaro and the Pontiac Firebird the stage of level 700 of the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. Approaching the 45th anniversary of sales for the first Camaro back in 1966, the exhibition showcased many examples of Chevrolet’s pony car as well as its sister vehicle produced by the now-defunct Pontiac brand assembled on the GM’s F-body platform until 2002. Examples of the four generations of the F-body version of the Camaro and Firebird include a wide selection of Indianapolis 500 pace car replicas including an example of the popular 1969 Chevrolet Camaro convertible. Other vehicles found in the Icons: Chevrolet Camaro and Pontiac Firebird Showcase was a replica of Knight Riders’ KITT, a Don Yenko Super Camaro and a 1977 Pontiac Trans Am Special Edition resembling the car that Burt Reynolds drove in the hit movie ‘Smokey and the Bandit’. Despite the demise of the Pontiac brand in 2010, one modified 2010 Chevrolet Camaro by Lingenfelter Performance Engineering gave a peek at what a modern Firebird would look like.

Concorso Exotica

Chris Nagy 2011 Canadian International Auto Show 1018 callaway lambo
Photo Credit: Chris Nagy/Car FYI Canada

In addition to seeing the automobiles that is set to influence our everyday life through the present and future, auto shows are a delightful time to get a taste of what only fantasy would otherwise bring close. Concorso Exotica paired modern and vintage vehicles from premium makes such as Lamborghini, Ferrari, Lotus and Aston Martin. During the 2011 Canadian International AutoShow media day, a partnership between Lamborghini and Callaway Golf in the development of Forged Composite technology brought a modified Gallardo called the Concept S as well as a golf driving simulator (I tried it with a Callaway driver and just have to admit I am better versed in mini golf.) The special exhibition space for exotic and high-valued vehicles would remain a fixture for the Canadian International AutoShow following its appearance in 2011 but would receive a slightly revised name called ‘Auto Exotica’. 

Cruise Nationals

2011 Canadian International Auto Show 1969 Chevy Nova SS
Photo Credit: Chris Nagy/Car FYI Canada

A traditional part of the Canadian International AutoShow, Cruise Nationals gathered 10 finalists judged to be the finest classic and custom vehicles found in shows surrounding the Toronto area. While the owners of all 10 vehicles selected received a $700 prize for appearing inside the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, one would be judged as the grand champion. For the 2011 show, the 1969 Chevrolet Nova SS owned by Martin Mollot claimed top honours. The silver medalist was Albert Wester’s 1931 Cadillac Roadster while the bronze award went to Gary Nolan’s 1968 Dodge Charger R/T.

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Canadian International AutoShow Revisited: 2010 Edition

Heidi Taillefer Designed Infiniti G37 Art Car at 2010 CIAS
Photo Credit: Chris Nagy/Car FYI Canada


Theme of the Show: The Vision- Explore New Directions. Experience Innovation.

Though the effects of the great global recession were nearing an end with the arrival of 2010, Canadian auto sales from the recently concluded year of 2009 made it clear that the auto industry had a hole to climb out of. Only 1,484,000 new cars and trucks sold in Canada represented a 11.36 percent drop over the 2008 calendar year as instability with money caused many to temporarily forego many expensive purchase and expenditures.  

Although this was only the second year I attended the event, I could tell there was truly a lower key tone to the 2010 Canadian International AutoShow compared to the previous year. The show’s footprint decreased as the floors of the Skydome (Rogers Centre) was no longer part of the display space. Since 2009, none of the subsequent auto shows in Toronto would use the popular retractable roof sports and entertainment building. 

In addition to the decreased exhibition space, it was evident that most of the auto manufacturers less resources to the 2010 show. While there were several enticing concept car designs and exotic cars at the event, the majority of the 2010 Canadian International AutoShow was based around highlighting cars with a more practical focus (the 2012 Ford Focus being one of them). 

Notable Vehicles:

2010 Ford Mustang

2010 Ford Mustang Convertible at CIAS
Photo Credit: Chris Nagy/Car FYI Canada

Ending the Mustang’s construction on a chassis based on the Ford’s Fox platform dating back to the 1970s, the 2005 model year version of the original pony car became a modern retro styled darling. For the 2010 model year, the Ford Mustang received a substantial update. Maintaining its classically-inspired shape, the 2010 Mustang’s design was tweaked in multiple way with new headlights, LED taillights and revised outer mirrors. More aerodynamically efficient compared to its 2009 predecessor, the updated Ford Mustang would gain additional momentum in 2011 as the 5.0-liter Coyote V-8 engine brought 412 horsepower to the GT model. This new 5.0-liter powerplant came as a product of Canadian automotive manufacturing constructed as Windsor’s Ford Essex Engine Plant.

Fiat 500

Photo Credit: Chris Nagy/Car FYI Canada

Months after the 2009 auto show, Chrysler Group had filed for bankruptcy and found a lifeline by merging for Italian-based Fiat Group. Eventually resulting in the formation of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (now called Stellantis following a merger with Groupe PSA formalized in 2021) the refreshed company would begin to feature a greater influence from Europe with their vehicle portfolio in upcoming years. One of the first products symbolizing the future was part of the Fiat brand’s return to the United States and Canada. A retro-themed subcompact fully refined for the modern automotive market, the Fiat 500 premiered at the Canadian International AutoShow ahead of its 2012 model year introduction in the country. Charmingly styled inside and outside in classic Italian fashion, the small car also proved to be economical with a 1.4-liter MultiAir four-cylinder engine capable of travelling up to 38 miles on a gallon of gasoline (6.2 liters per 100 kilometers). The Fiat 500's presentation at the 2010 show featured one vehicle in white as well as a sportier  black Abarth 500. A small car with a big personality, the Fiat 500 sold well in Canada with 5,392 vehicles in 2011. By 2018, sales of the vehicle fell to just 269 units contributing to Fiat withdrawing the car from the United States and Canada after 2019.

Toyota Prius PHEV (Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle) Concept

2010 Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid
Photo Credit: Chris Nagy/Car FYI Canada

Toyota was one of the first automakers to take a major gamble in marketing an electrified vehicle. The Toyota Prius and its gasoline/electric hybrid powertrain became a symbol for a new automotive world that saw reverence for the car in the fact of constantly increasing gas prices through much of the first decade of the 21st century. Although oil prices caused pump prices to be less shocking through 2009, the introduction of the third generation Prius for the 2010 model was still greeted with enthusiasm. Receiving a substantial refinement to its aerodynamic exterior, environmentally-conscious interior materials as well as a host of new high-tech amenities including a solar roof and Intelligent Parking Assist, the evolution of the Toyota Prius also included the exploration of different variations of the hybrid. Shown in concept form at the 2010 Canadian International AutoShow, the Prius PHEV redirected main propulsion for short trips entirely to an electric motor. When the production version of the vehicle appeared in 2012, the rated all-electric travel range of the Toyota Prius PHEV was 23 kilometers. The PHEV variant of the Prius featured a lithium-ion battery pack as opposed to the heavier nickel-metal hydride battery present in the third generation conventional Prius. A lithium-ion battery would be equipped on all Prius models for the 2016 model year.

2012 Ford Focus

New Ford Focus at 2010 CIAS
Photo Credit: Chris Nagy/Car FYI Canada

When the Focus lineup was debut in Europe in 1998 and in North America during late 1999, the vehicle was Ford Motor Company’s latest grand idea for creating a world compact car under the blue oval. This vision would be temporarily defeated for the 2008 model year as Ford developed differing versions of the Focus for Europe and North America. At the 2010 Canadian International AutoShow, the reunification of the Ford Focus as a world car appeared roughly a month following its global debut at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Said to share 80 percent of the total components with its European counterpart, the 2012 Ford Focus unveiled in Toronto was distinctively a product of the brand’s Kinetic design language seeking to create the sense of ‘energy in motion’ according to the automaker. The 2012 Focus arrived in Canada as a four-door sedan as well as five-door hatchback. A larger cabin featured available amenities such as Ford SYNC, MyFord 8-inch touchscreen. Ford’s new compact car boasted power from a new 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine incorporating direct injection and variable camshaft timing. This engine was also offered with a newly-developed twin-clutch PowerShift automatic transmission that would ultimately be regarded with infamy by many owners and has been the subject of case action lawsuit in many countries including Canada. A settlement was reached with Canadian owners of the Focus and Fiesta equipped with the transmission back in 2019.

Mini Beachcomber

MINI Beachcomber Concept
Photo Credit: Chris Nagy/Car FYI Canada

It has become a particular joy in attending the Canadian International AutoShow to see the modern Mini brand adopting their vehicles to conform to a number of shapes. Whether they make it into production or just a fun styling exercise, the cars part of the auto brand’s display truly lures an enthusiast to spend time. In 2010, the Mini Beachcomber Concept brought a healthy splash of summer to the middle of a Canadian winter. The four-passenger, open-air concept vehicle was a contemporary recreation of the derivative of the original original Mini called the Moke. Like the Mini Moke, the Beachcomber Concept’s design featured no passenger doors or a hard roof. Equipped with all-wheel drive, the MINI Beachcomber Concept teased the crossover versatility that would be present in the upcoming Countryman.

Mercedes-Benz Sprinter

Mercedes Benz Sprinter Van
Photo Credit: Chris Nagy/Car FYI Canada

By itself, the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter full-sized van was not a major new product. After all, the vehicle existed in Canada for years but wore the Dodge or Freightliner names. While Mercedes-Benz branded commercial vehicles were commonplace in Europe, the German automaker appeared resistant to have their star emblem adorn non-luxury products in the United States and Canada. However, with the break-up of DaimlerChrysler, the Dodge brand would drop the Sprinter van range resulting in Mercedes-Benz committing to market the commercial product under their moniker. The 2010 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter was offered in a cargo version and a passenger model with a capacity up to 12 passengers powered by a 3.0-liter diesel engine. Since 2010, Mercedes-Benz has managed a balance between being recognized as both a luxury and commercial vehicle brand in Canada. In addition to the Sprinter, Mercedes-Benz added the smaller Metris van for the 2016 model year.

Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG

Mercedes Benz SLS AMG
Photo Credit: Chris Nagy/Car FYI Canada

A successor to the Mercedes-Benz McLaren SLR, the SLS AMG was an ultra-elite performance car that debuted in 2010. While the previous model was developed in partnership with Formula 1 company McLaren, the Mercedes-AMG performance division handled the creation of the newest two-passenger sport machine. Propelled by a 571-horsepower 6.2-liter V-8 engine paired with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, the 2010 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG boasted an acceleration time from 0 to 100 kilometers per hour in 3.8 seconds and a top speed of 317 kilometers per hour. The long hooded, aluminum-bodied SLS AMG hardtop appearing at the 2010 Canadian International AutoShow included an iconic call-back to the 300SL Gullwing with upward opening doors. 

Honda CR-Z Hybrid

Honda CR Z Hybrid at 2010 CIAS
Photo Credit: Chris Nagy/Car FYI Canada

The first major automaker to sell a modern era hybrid vehicle in North America (narrowly beating the Toyota Prius to the continent), Honda had remained almost as devoted promoting electrification in their production vehicles as their fellow Japan-derived rival. By the late 2000s, Honda had dropped the Accord Hybrid but continued a hybrid version of the Civic was maintained. For the 2010 model year, Honda revived the Insight name first used on their first dedicated hybrid vehicle reapplying it to a hyper-efficient sedan. As a hybrid powered companion to the new Insight, the Honda CR-Z was introduced for the 2011 model year as a two-door, 2+2 passenger sport compact. Although a fascinating compact sport coupe, the CR-Z found only a modest niche of customers. Achieving highway fuel economy of 5.0 liters per 100 kilometers, the 1.5-liter four-cylinder i-VTEC engine combined with Integrated Motor Assist never delivered more a combined 122 horsepower deflating its sport character.

Volkswagen Up! lite and NCC Concepts

Volkswagen up! Lite Concept
Photo Credit: Chris Nagy/Car FYI Canada

German auto giant Volkswagen arrived at the 2010 Canadian International AutoShow with two concept vehicles exhibiting the company’s innovation. Not intended for production, Volkswagen’s Up! Lite concept car was a full-blown exercise to create a hyper-fuel efficient four-wheeled, four-passenger automobile. A hybrid powertrain combining an electric motor with a tiny 0.8-liter diesel two-cylinder engine as well as ultra-lightweight construction consisting of the extensive use of aluminum and carbon fiber allows the UP! Lite Concept to consume just 2.44 liters of fuel to travel 100 kilometers (70 miles per gallon. The second concept vehicle Volkswagen brought to Toronto for the 2010 show was the New Compact Coupe (NCC). A two-door shape engineered to provoke dynamic elegance covered by a Tungsten Silver Metallic paint colour, the Volkswagen NCC featured many styling cues that would appear in the North American Passat sedan unveiled the following year. 

Infiniti Essence Concept

Infiniti Essence 2010 CIAS
Photo Credit: Chris Nagy/Car FYI Canada

Although the lower-key tone of the 2010 Canadian International AutoShow did not feature to many instances of outright extravagance, there were a handful of luxury opulence. The future of premium motoring was best exemplified at the show by an Infiniti concept car. A 592-horsepower gasoline/electric hybrid rear-wheel drive luxury sport coupe, Infiniti’s Essence Concept covered all the bases for a high-end grand slam. The brand’s “Dynamic Adeyaka” exterior styling was a sensation on the show floor as a double-arch grille, flowing side character lines and a long hood were favourably shown off on the 185-inch long vehicle. Since the Essence Concept’s appearance, the C-shaped kink appearing on the concept car’s rear side windows is at least partially adopted by Infiniti’s current Q60 coupe and QX50 crossover. The two-passenger interior of the Infiniti Essence Concept featured controls in a pure, driver-focused layout encapsulates the pilot in black while an elegant red flowed throughout the passenger area. A final high-end touch to the Essence Concept is the inclusion of specially-fitted Louis Vuitton luggage.   

Special Exhibitions:

Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame

Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame Room at 2010  CIAS
Photo Credit: Chris Nagy/Car FYI Canada

As a motorsport fan, the 2010 Canadian International AutoShow provided two pleasing themed displays to satisfy my desire to be surrounded by auto racing in the middle of winter. The first was a small assembly of race cars part of the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame. A Can Am race car previously driven by Paul Tracy, a Jaguar XJS Trans Am car and a vehicle from the former Midland F1 Racing team were some incredible sights to see but the exhibit also contained some truly milestone-defining pieces. Vehicles of note included the Multimatic Motorsports-fielded Nissan-powered Lola prototype that won the 2000 24 Hours of Le Mans LMP675 category, a Wolf Racing WR1 Formula 1 car as well as a Player’s sponsored #99 CART race car connected to the late Greg Moore. At the start of 2021, the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame is going into its second decade of not having a permanent home.

Carroll Shelby Display 

Shelby Display Cars
Photo Credit: Chris Nagy/Car FYI Canada

In concert with his induction into the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame in 2010, the Canadian International AutoShow dedicated a sizable amount of level 700 of the Metro Toronto Convention Centre to vehicles relating to the iconic Carroll Shelby. An overall winner of the 24 Hours of Le Mans as a driver in 1959, Shelby’s short career behind the wheel was followed by a long legacy-building time developing sports cars. The AC Shelby Cobra, Sunbeam Tiger, Ford Shelby GT350, Shelby Daytona and the several Ford GT40s were part of a marvelous collection. Also included in the display was a Dodge Viper and several Ford concept cars created based on Carroll Shelby’s famous vehicles.  

Cruise Nationals

Sadly, I left the 2010 Canadian International AutoShow without capturing any images of the year’s Cruise Nationals finalists. The sixth year of the event within the event, ten of the finest classic and custom vehicles were positioned for top honours. Crowned the grand champion for the 2010 edition of Cruise Nationals was Doug O’Brien’s 1932 Ford 3-Window Coupe called Tango. Bill Budd’s 1949 Ford F47 pickup truck took the silver medal while a 1951 Mercury Monarch owned by Bill Train claimed bronze.

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Canadian International AutoShow Revisited: 2009 Edition

auto show day 4 194
Photo Credit: Chris Nagy/Car FYI Canada


Theme of the Show: The New Era

The first Canadian International AutoShow I attended, the 2009 Toronto exhibition was an event that operated in an uncertain economic time for the industry. 

The great recession ended the decade causing considerable reassessments on many fronts. With roughly 1,674,100 vehicles sold in Canadian during 2008 equating to a roughly 1 percent drop compared to the previous year, the data actually showed a radical increase in passenger car sales while truck sales fell to its deepest level in seven years. Smaller, economical cars were favoured among new vehicle buyers while traditional truck-like struggled as a hangover of high gas prices and over-saturation of the marketplace. The fickleness of the 2009 buyer would be highlighted when auto sales took a deeper plummet in Canada with 1,484,900 new vehicles sold.

Besides the attitude of car buyers, the biggest change that would appear over the course of 2009 was among the automakers. General Motors and Chrysler Group both filed for bankruptcy following the wrap of the Canadian International AutoShow. The 2009 show was the only occasion for me to see Pontiac, Saab and Saturn exhibited as new cars. General Motors would also remove the Hummer brand but the name is currently being revived as an all-electric vehicle under GMC starting for the 2022 model year.

Following my attendance of the 2009 auto show, I purchased a higher resolution, more capable digital camera. With that being said, I would certainly like to believe that my photography his improved over the course of 12 years. 

Notable Vehicles:

Chevrolet Volt 

chevy volt 2009
Photo Credit: Chris Nagy/Car FYI Canada

Chevrolet’s first dedicated electrified vehicle, the Volt plug-in hybrid arrived for sale in 2010 as a 2011 model. In its final production form at the 2009 Canadian International AutoShow, the first generation Chevrolet Volt featured the capability of running up to 56 kilometers on solely electric power. Though the Volt plug-in hybrid was viewed as a breakthrough vehicle that would guide Chevrolet, General Motors and perhaps the whole North American auto market as a whole to a new era, the $41,545 Canadian price tag (before government incentives) for a well-trimmed compact sedan was a significant tether preventing it from becoming a total success. 

Chevrolet Camaro SS

auto show day 3 Chevrolet Camaro SS
Photo Credit: Chris Nagy/Car FYI Canada

While a great deal of media buzz situated on how the Chevrolet Volt could be the vehicle that would lead new General Motors to prosperity after its inevitable bankruptcy, a legend of old General Motors was being prepared for its own rebirth. A nameplate dormant since the last vehicle coasted off the defunct Sainte-Therese, Quebec plant in 2002, the Camaro was returning to showrooms for the 2010 model year. Based on the 2006 Chevrolet Camaro concept, the new production vehicle’s style was heavily inspired by the first generation variant with a classic muscle car shape. While the Camaro SS’s 426-horsepower LS3 V-8 engine was the primary choice for performance lovers, a 312-horsepower 3.6-liter V-6 engine was also available. When I arrived at the 2009 Canadian International AutoShow, the Chevrolet Camaro SS in Inferno Orange with white striping was the first vehicle I ever sat in at the event.    

Nissan NV2500 Concept

auto show opening day 182
Photo Credit: Chris Nagy/Car FYI Canada

In 2021, Nissan has carved out a small niche in the North American light duty commercial vehicle marketplace that generally favoured domestic brands. Back in 2009, years after introducing the full-sized Titan pickup truck, Nissan began their endeavour to enter the work vehicle sector in the United States and Canada. The Nissan NV2500 Concept functioned as a glimpse at the full-sized commercial van the automaker would ultimately produce in 2014 at a facility in Canton, Mississippi. The concept version of the vehicle aggressively advertised its versatility with a fold-down exterior table and a side cargo door complete with tailored mounting for work tools.  


BMW Z4 Roadster
Photo Credit: Chris Nagy/Car FYI Canada

Introduced as the pure expression of BMW’s driving excellence, the Z3 roadster provided the base line for what became the Z4 that debuted in 2002. By 2009, the BMW Z4 received a considerable refresh that saw the two-seater gained an extra level of maturity. Along with becoming exclusively a retractable hardtop sports car featuring a two-piece aluminum roof structure, the second generation BMW Z4 boasted iDrive control and three powerplant choices including an available 306-horsepower, twin-turbocharged, direct-injected inline six. The new BMW Z4 was also notable within the brand for employing female design talents. Julianne Blasi styled the sleek, longer exterior of the retractable hardtop vehicle while Nadya Arnaout sculpted the driver-oriented interior featuring high-class materials and improved elbow room.   

Kia Forte Sedan and Koup Concept 

Kia Forte Coupe Concept
Photo Credit: Chris Nagy/Car FYI Canada

Selling vehicle in Canada for more than a decade by 2009, South Korean-derived Kia Motors established itself mainly a budget auto brand with somewhat underwhelming styling. However, as the make stood on the border to a new decade, Kia began to plant seeds for more emotionally stimulating designs. Making its Canadian debut at the 2009 show, the 2010 Kia Forte sedan featured smart yet sporty presentation sculpted by the brand’s California design studio. Also appearing at the Canadian International AutoShow as a concept, the Koup Concept was a more exciting two-door image of what Kia’s compact car could be. Although the coupe was classified as a concept, the second, more aggressive body style was swiftly added to Kia’s production line. The Kia Forte is currently a leading vehicle in the compact category but the Koup model was discontinued after the 2016 model year.  

Ferrari F430 Scuderia Spider 16M

Ferraris on display at 2009 Canadian International AutoShow
Photo Credit: Chris Nagy/Car FYI Canada

Located on level 800 across the Hyundai vehicle display floor, there was a small grouping of exotic vehicles representing one of Italy’s most popular sports car companies. The Ferrari brand was represented by four examples of the performance brand’s latest speed machines. Though the Ferrari California retractable hardtop convertible was highlighted by the auto show, a vehicle found towards the front of the display was the F430 Scuderia Spider 16M. A special edition model created to commemorate Ferrari’s 2008 Formula 1 Constructors’ Championship (the team’s 16th and most recent as of start of the 2021 season), the Ferrari F430 Scuderia Spider 16M was finished in a Giallo Modena Ds yellow exterior accompanied by the available tricolour striping. The special edition 16M version of the mid-engined sports car included a 503-horsepower V-8 engine paired with a fast-responding 6-speed electro-hydraulic transmission as well as lightweight steering wheel and seating structure incorporating carbon fiber construction. Only 499 examples of the Ferrari F430 Scuderia Spider 16M would be built. 

Chrysler Town & Country EV ENVI Concept

Photo Credit: Chris Nagy/Car FYI Canada

During the short-lived existence of the Chrysler Group that operated under a private equity company, the automaker was between their divorce with Daimler-Benz and their eventual merger with Fiat Group. Despite being in a precarious financial situation, Chrysler Group intended to produce a lineup of innovative electrified vehicles through the ENVI program. A plug-in hybrid concept of the Chrysler Town & Country minivan was presented on the brand’s 2009 exhibition space touted 64-kilometer all-electric driving range and a combined range of 644 kilometers. The lithium-ion battery pack was fitted within the location of the traditional Stow n’ Go bins. Creating several concepts, the ENVI program ended without any production models released to the public.

Honda FC Sport Concept

Honda FC Sport Concept at 2009 CIAS
Photo Credit: Chris Nagy/Car FYI Canada

One of the more radical idea cars shown at the 2009 Canadian International AutoShow, the Honda FC Sport Concept was a bold, three-passenger sports car (placing the driver in the middle similar to the McLaren F1) centrally-located at the front of the auto brand’s exhibition space. Propelled through the power of a hydrogen fuel cell, the concept envisions a strict performance look accompanying the technology that was already appearing in Honda’s limited production FCX Clarity. The Honda V Flow fuel cell and the battery pack were located as close to the center of the FC Sport Concept as possible for optimized weight distribution. Exterior panels made of bio-plastics, Formula 1-inspired aerodynamics and an upward opening canopy also defined the Honda FC Sport Concept.

Special Exhibitions:

Cruise Nationals

auto show opening day 044
Photo Credit: Chris Nagy/Car FYI Canada

A component of the Canadian International AutoShow since 2006, Cruise Nationals assembled 10 of the finest classic vehicles spotted at cruise events close to the Greater Toronto Area. Selected vehicles can be a stock restored model or could be a personalized custom car or truck. Every automobile present on level 700 of the south end of the Metro Toronto Convention Centre came with a story from a proud, dedicated owner. For the 2009 auto show, the Gold Champion recipient was Roger Thibault’s 1936 Ford pickup truck. Steven Bloom’s 1933 Ford convertible took the Silver award while a Ralph Porco’s 1972 Dodge Challenger took bronze.



Corvette Mako Shark Concept Car
Photo Credit: Chris Nagy/Car FYI Canada

Primarily assembled inside a relatively small room on level 700 just beyond the Cruise Nationals vehicles was the 2009 Canadian International AutoShow’s Corvette! Showcase. Including beautiful examples of the then six generations of the Chevrolet Corvette, the exhibit also included a pair of concepts noteworthy for any major fan of the American sports car. At the entrance of room, the 1962 Mako Shark design prototype contained a slew of styling cues that would be found on the Corvette Sting Ray introduced in 1963. Another influential concept of Corvette’s past included at the 2009 display was the Manta Ray. Starting life as the Mako Shark II that give shape to the C3 Corvette production car, the Manta Ray featured numerous design modifications and an all-aluminum ZL-1 engine.