You know you're a hipster-road-trip-junkie nerd when you walk into the car-porn extravaganza that is the Canadian International Auto Show (CIAS) and the first vehicle that catches your attention is a Volkswagen Camper.
That camper, part of a local 99.9 FM Virgin radio contest, is certainly not designed to compete with the heavy hitters on the floor of the Metro Toronto Convention Centre but I didn't care -- I'll always be a big fan of the VW camper. I said it two years ago and I'm saying it again today.
Three Reasons to Love the Auto Show
Visiting CIAS is fabulous for three reasons. First, you see vehicles like the Camper, as well as cool gadgets and concept cars that many people in your circle probably won't appreciate.
Second, it's an outstanding tourist attraction and a must for people who love cars or even just like them a little. It doesn't hurt if you're a shameless gearhead with oily hands and lugnuts falling out of your pockets. The good news is you don't have to be a gearhead -- one of the remarkable things about this show is the number of families that show up just to see the different vehicles. It's big business. Make no mistake -- this is a show where millions of dollars are on the line, deals are made and reputations are secured. With that being said, there is something at this show for all ages and most people who come to CIAS just want to be close to the action and get a glimpse of a really cool automobile -- especially eye-catching up-and-comers like Ford's new GT1, which was unveiled at the show.
Third reason? You can see some of the coolest trends in the industry, and there have been many over the years. One of the most important ones that has driven the market is the push for cleaner cars. CIAS is not only a splendid opportunity to get a first look at some of the environmentally friendly advances made by the automotive industry, but also a chance to check out other interesting and innovative developments.
Canadians Demand Green Vehicles
This year's show kicked off with the Canadian Green Car of the Year competition, where the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC) announced the award's four finalists: Honda Fit, Kia Soul EV, Subaru Legacy and Toyota Camry Hybrid. The winner will be announced at the Vancouver International Auto Show in March.
While not a finalist for the award this year, one manufacturer that has a great record for clean cars is Hyundai. Michael Ricciuto, director of product and corporate strategy at Hyundai Auto Canada, was on hand for the launch of the Tuscon Fuel Cell.
"The Tuscon Fuel Cell, is the first mass-produced fuel-cell vehicle ever in the world, and we're launching it here in Canada this year," said Ricciuto, adding that the vehicle is only going to be sold in the Vancouver area because hydrogen fuelling is only available in that market right now. "It's incredible technology where you combine oxygen that's in our atmosphere with hydrogen, there's an electro-chemical process through the fuel cell itself that creates electricity and drives the electric vehicle."
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