Auto shows, Luther people
Be sure to view the recap and photo gallery from the Twin Cities Auto Show and the Central Minnesota Car Show in St. Cloud.
Anna May, Luther Brookdale Volkswagen
Larry Hirabayashi, with the Infiniti JX35, greeted customers. Hirabayashi used to sell Chrysler products and particularly enjoys selling pre-owned vehicles.
Steven DiFiore, Infiniti of Bloomington
The compact Land Rover Evoque is hot, said Theresa Norsted in sales. And, while the Jaguar XK is loved for its looks, new Jag XJ and XF models with all-wheel drive are also garnering attention. “They always ask about where these are made,” she said. England.
Brookdale VW’s Juri Loginov spreads the news about Luther’s latest VW location covering the north and northwest metro. The carmaker changed its display for 2013 and lined the cars up in a very straight column.
Duane Thompson, left, with Brookdale Mazda Mitsubishi checked out the competition on his day off. He said attendance was up and rates as low as 0 percent were helping.
Clyde Torvik has found a lot of pent up demand for vehicles and said it’s an exciting time to be with Buick GMC. “The 2014 truck is going to be really something,” and is expected in June. Torvik said Buick is doing “double duty” as it fills a void for former Pontiac buyers. One of his younger customers said, “You took the ‘ick’ out of Buick.” Buicks start at about $23,000.
Ryan Tucker was thriving on the show’s challenging competitive environment. People have questions. “Everyone wants to know if they can fit in it.” Many are waiting for the 4-door 500L expected this summer.
Dave Harrer feasted on the “Buick buzz” at his first auto show, and polished his people skills. It’s his first year in sales after working a factory job. With its signature waterfall grille and portholes, the Buick Encore is a favorite and the first luxury SUV in its class.
Undefeated race car driver Ryan Gates, above left, and the street legal Mitsubishi 311 RS were under the lights. Just 11 of the 400 hp machines will be made, and offered for $49,900. Most of Mitsubishi’s buyer traffic was for the Outlander Sport, said Sam Mortenson, above right.
The Honda store had a large presence at the Central Minnesota Car Show held at River’s Edge Convention Center in St. Cloud. Its combination of Powersports and cars was unique to the show and gave car buyers an opportunity to consider Powersports as well, said parts advisor Dan Fruechte.
Live entertainment featured musician Tim Williams.
Carrie McWilliams said the buzz was hovering around the new Santa Fe, and Elantra sales were busy due to an additional $500 Auto Show rebate. Everyone was commenting on how they really like the new Santa Fe and are really excited for the new 7-passenger version.
“Nice to see you, welcome home. Give me a call,” said Edward Kapustin, as he greeted previous customers. He connected with so many that he became tired. Many who no longer have children at home are choosing the Acura RDX, but the best seller is the MDX. Kapustin often promotes the ease of Acura’s two packages, basic or tech.
With the Subaru Crosstrek, Jon Conti said the marque has been extremely busy. “It’s a nice little crossover that sits up high.” The platform is like an Impreza 5-door, but with an Outback setup, much like the Outback Impreza wagon of years ago but with new technology and better fuel economy. Many want the ground clearance of the new Subaru Forester. Building on his experience selling Acuras in Boston, Conti said the clientele is quite similar in this area.
Steve Graves with North Country Ford Lincoln said people were taking a look at the Lincoln MKZ and its new body style. He’s been in the car business since 1999 and worked previously in the carpet industry.
Offering a $500 auto show coupon from VW good for 60 days, Michele Pogue with Westside VW said most show attendees asked about fuel economy and some had interest in VW’s hybrid. Passats were hot, followed by the Tiguan and Beetle. She enjoyed explaining VW’s intelligent crash response system.