Sweet home Chicago
I have an image for you. Two men in black suits wearing dark sunglasses. Does a certain movie come to mind? No...not "Men in Black." I'm talking the true cult classic, "The Blues Brothers". And the lyrics from their classic "Sweet Home Chicago" jumped to mind as I strolled the windy (and frigid) streets tonight after dinner. (Deep dish pizza at Gino's East.what else?)
"Well, one and one is two.
Six and two is eight.
Come on baby don't ya make me late!
Baby don't you wanna go.
Back to that same old place.
Sweet home Chicago."
It is time for Chicago Auto Show 2007, and, just like in the song, the numbers are at the top of my mind. January's Industry sales numbers were, on average, not inspiring. Take January's results as "average" for the upcoming year, and we're on track for a mildly disappointing 2007.
But the Chicago show always helps put things into perspective. Maybe it's a result of the massive halls of McCormick Place, but this show always reminds me of the size and scope of the U.S. market.
For example, the Ford Five Hundred sedan has been a disappointment since hitting the streets in late 2004. Released in time for self-declared "Year of the Car," it has not caught the imagination or checkbooks of Ford's expected audience. However, a quick glance at last year's numbers shows that almost 85,000 were sold. Over 1,600 per week in 2006. More than 230 per day. And since Ford unveiled the updated Five Hundred (shown here) at the Detroit Auto Show last month, today's rumor is that the venerable name "Taurus" is to be resurrected and hopefully breathe new life into the almost new car.
This will not be the biggest news from this show, but for me, it highlights what the Chicago show represents. It's an all-business affair.
No high-horsepower exotics or high-tech hybrid or high-style concepts will break cover at this show. Instead, we get to glimpse the purchasing power of today's U.S. buyer and how important each and every sale will be in this increasingly competitive and volatile marketplace.
Saturn Astra, Toyota Highlander, Pontiac G8, Scion xB, Nissan Titan, Armada and Pathfinder. None of these Chicago debuts will ignite wild passion, but their builders are counting on each and every one of them to pull finicky buyers into their showroom in 2007 and beyond.
In Sweet Home Chicago, it will be all about the numbers.
Posted by James Bell, Intellichoice.com 8:28 AM 1 Comments | Add a Comment
Don't know if Ford will sell more of the five hundred by changing the name to Taurus. Currently, the Taurus name doesn't bring a good, solid car to mind. Ford needs to do a ton of advertising on the new Taurus, and that still may not help.
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