New car models on display MLK weekend, some absent

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The South Towne Expo Center filled with car enthusiasts and prospective shoppers over the holiday weekend for the annual Utah International Auto Expo. However, South Towne was not filled with exciting new concepts and exotics.

Vistors to the auto show try out cars from the largest car brands in the world. Photo by Sarah Hill

Due to the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) opening to the public on the same weekend, manufacturers were forced to keep their concepts in Detroit even though they made their public debut last week during NAIAS press days. However, timing of the Utah show makes it a great family weekend outing and an ideal setting for buyers to shop current models without going out in the cold.

Nik Putnam, a sophomore studying criminal justice at UVU, is considering trading his 2009 Mazda 3 for a newer Mazdaspeed3. He took the chance this weekend to compare all the Mazdaspeed3’s competitors under one roof.

After commenting on the Ford Focus ST’s superior fuel economy, Putnam expressed amazement over the Hyundai Veloster’s quality. “Amazing how quick they put that into play and how well put together the car has been built.” Noticeably absent for Putnam was the A3 in Audi’s exhibit.

General Motors was present with a large number of Buicks, GMC trucks, Cadillacs and Chevrolets, with many models available outside for test drives. Not present, however, was the American car maker’s new 2014 Corvette C7, unveiled last week in Detroit.

A representative at the Chevrolet exhibit said that it was not possible to get a 2014 Corvette to the Utah show due to the current demand from automotive press. Meanwhile, the first production 2014 Corvette Stingray sold for $1.1 million on Saturday, Jan. 19, in Scottsdale, Ariz., at the 2013 Barrett-Jackson collector car auction. All of the proceeds from the sale were donated to help the College for Creative Studies.

Among the cars on display that were not yet available for purchase, Ford Motor Co. displayed its new Lincoln MKZ. A Ford representative commented that the MKZ concept debuted over a year ago and they were showing a pre-production model, meaning the car is hand-assembled just as a concept would be, but the car is exactly as it will appear after it starts rolling off the production line this spring.

Besides the selective showing from some major manufacturers, other car makers were entirely missing. Mistubishi, which has been experiencing declining sales in the U.S. in the past 10 years, was not at this year’s Utah show. Also missing was Motor Trend’s Car of the Year, the completely electric Tesla Model S.

Preston Goold spent Saturday morning at the show with his wife and his 15-year-old brother. Although his brother was disappointed by the lack of exotics such as Ferrari, Porsche and Lamborghini, Preston thought the outing was worth the drive from the Goolds’ home in Orem.

On the way home from the show, Goold and his wife Cassidie stopped at the BMW dealership in Murray to test drive the new X3 and X5 they saw at the show. Although they haven’t decided to buy yet, their dilemma between the more economical X3 and the more capable X5 were settled — both preferred the X5.

For those interested in attending next year’s show, visit southtowneexpo.com/calendar.html. The dates are already listed on South Towne Expo Center’s events calendar. It will be held the same weekend, Jan. 17–20, 2014.  Tickets this year were $8 per adult and included a complimentary year’s subscription to Motor Trend magazine, compliments of the New Car Dealers of Utah.

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