Starting to feel like a prize-winning hound on the dog show circuit? Yea, us too. But auto show season is in full swing and if you wanna make it to the big leagues, you gotta play ball. That means keeping a pulse on the industry, regardless of your views on all this newfangled technology. Speaking of which, buzzword mobility solutions are gaining investors faster than a kitchen gadget on Shark Tank. Survey results are rolling in for consumer-favorite vehicles. And enthusiast-led events like SoldierCon, NMRA racing, and Daytona Bike Week continue to heat up with the slowly-warming weather.
Auto Show Season Continues Both Home and Abroad
Next week, we’ve got a full rundown planned of the 2019 Geneva Motor Show, running March 7-17, and—SPOILER ALERT—there’s a lot of future “mobility solutions” on the menu. From automated driving to electrified everything, you’ll be swallowing a lot of new tech with your kirsch and fondue.
If the boss won’t comp a trip to the beautiful Swiss Alps, you can always shoot for the freezing piles of snow in lovely Minnesota. The 2019 Twin Cities Auto Show runs March 9-17 at the Minneapolis Convention Center. More than 600 vehicles from over 35 brands will be on display, along with plenty of exciting activities for enthusiasts of all ages. (Including a full-size LEGO Chevy Silverado!)
Warmer weather and mud-caked trails more your thing? The City of Scottsdale Off-Road Expo presented by Nitto is this weekend, Saturday and Sunday, at the WestWorld in Scottsdale, Arizona. Featuring a massive selection of industry goodies, you’re sure to pick up some new gear—or off-road tips and tricks—from one of the many experts, vendors, and demos on site.
And don’t miss the biggest little trade show in Texas, the Keystone BIG Show, March 8-9, at the Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center in Grapevine. This is THE biggest wholesale-only trade show in North America, so be sure to tune in to the exclusive coverage we’ll have here on The Engine Block. From new product releases to vendor spotlights, business building ideas and networking tips, our staff’s got your back all week long.
Another Successful SoldierCon for the Books
If you seek something a little less conventional, add SoldierCon to your schedule. Part car show, part comic book convention, SoldierCon marries the best of both worlds as a way to say thanks to America’s armed forces. Experiencing a great turnout last June, the show’s creator Carlos Molina of Projekt Cars capitalized on that momentum and held a shorter version of the usual weekend-long affair on February 16 at the Underwood Golf Complex at Fort Bliss.
“We exceeded my expectations,” said Molina. “The parking lot was full of vehicles, there was constant new traffic inside the CC area, and all vendors were happy. This is what happens when the goal of an event is to create fun, inspire enthusiasts, and help a community grow, instead of trying to make a buck.”
And Molina has no intentions of slowing down. “The SoldierCon brand is not just going to be local,” he promised. “We plan on visiting several installations in the southwest. Our next two will be Phoenix, Arizona and Colorado Springs, Colorado.”
Find more information here and stay up to date on upcoming SoldierCon events.
“Mobility Solutions” Is One Wealthy Buzzword
Outside of auto show season excitement, headline-grabbing future “mobility solutions” continue to gather steam—and capital.
It looks like electric start-up Rivian just snagged itself a white whale with Amazon putting $700 million into the pot. So-called “Tesla killers” have continually been scoffed away by fans. But with a business titan in its back pocket, Rivian might just be the mainstream competitor crowds have been waiting for.
Lyft could beat Uber in the race to an IPO process. (Which might explain the generous no-code-needed 50% off coupon the company sent my inbox this weekend. Thanks Lyft!)
Volkswagen is readying its new electric minibus ride-share service, MOIA, set to debut in Hamburg, Germany this April. Launching with 100 vehicles that seat up to six people plus luggage, the VW subsidiary plans to expand the fleet to 500 within a year.
And rivals Daimler and BMW are pooling resources—$1.13 billion worth to be exact—into a new joint venture that covers a variety of one-swipe-shop services. According to CNN, the companies’ smartphone-friendly program will focus on five areas, “car-sharing, ride-hailing, parking, charging, and multi-modal transport, which allows travelers to use multiple transportation methods on a single trip.” Oh, is that all…?
Those of us for whom “mobility solutions” merely means “dependable daily drivers,” results are in from the Consumer Reports’ Top Picks of 2019 list and the J.D. Power 2019 Vehicle Dependability Study. And we gotta say, it’s nice to see Subaru getting some recognition. For the first time, the Japanese automaker took Best Overall Brand in Consumer Reports’ annual report on performance, reliability, satisfaction, and safety. The dependable badge was followed by last year’s winner Genesis, then Porsche, Audi, and Lexus.
Lexus took home first place in J.D. Power’s study though, marking its eighth straight year snagging the award. The study’s results are based on responses from original owners of three-year-old vehicles, following any problems reported over the last 12 months. That means, the top vehicles are all for the 2016 model year. Behind Lexus was parent company Toyota, tying for second with Porsche, followed by Chevrolet and Buick.
Around YOUR Circuit
Sure, NASCAR’s warming up and F1 gets its toes wet with the first pre-season test. But let’s take a break from the syndicated TV darlings and focus on what’s happening on the ground.
The 25th Annual Nitto Tire NMRA Spring Break Shootout starts this week, kicking off the NMRA Ford Nationals Series’ 2019 season. Running February 28-March 3 at the Bradenton Motorsports Park in Bradenton, Florida, the biggest party in Mustang drag racing promises to deliver fun for all kinds of fans, with the best Blue Oval racers competing head-to-head for cash prizes and bragging rights.
Those seeking some two-wheeled action can stick around the Sunshine State for Daytona Bike Week, March 8-17. From demo rides to swap meets, to a fire-twirling burlesque show dubbed “Dragon Babes,” the 78th anniversary of the world’s largest motorcycle event has an agenda packed with plenty of bikes, burgers, and bras.
Those more interested in hitting dusty trails should check out the 57th Annual Tierra Del Sol Desert Safari. Running March 1 – 3, all proceeds from the largest and longest-running off-road event in SoCal go to fighting California land and trail closures as well as helping worthy charities.