Greetings from The Big Apple!
We are here for the New York International Auto Show, which starts this Friday, April 22.
It’s my first time in New York City and all I can say is “Wow! What a place!” I’ve travelled to a few great locations for Saab events and Auto Shows but rarely has one city so completely exceeded my expectations – and I’ve barely scratched the surface here.
There is something new and fascinating to see with even just the slightest shift of your eyeballs. From the glamorous stores to the architecture, from the lights of Broadway to the people walking the manicured dogs owned by the well-to-do on 5th Avenue – there’s always something to see. And the food! This city can cook, believe me!
It’s been heartwarming to see a decent number of Saabs on the streets here. I’ve seen more than I expected in such a large and busy city. For those of you keeping score the first Saab-spot was a black 9-5 SportCombi on Grand Central Parkway, around 15 minutes after I left JFK a few days ago.
The “wow” factor kicked in last night when I spotted a black classic 900 Convertible parked on the street. Unfortunately I was zooming by in a taxi and didn’t have time to get my camera out, but I might head back to the same district tonight and see what I can see…..
Events so far in New York……
I had a small dinner meeting on Sunday with some readers from my Saabs United days. A few others tried to make it but were hampered by some unfortunate logistics. We had a great time, regardless.
Yesterday I headed down to the Javits Center to check out the setup of the Saab stand. It was mayhem down there as all the manufacturers had crates of equipment being hauled in, opened up, with staging areas being assembled, etc.
Last night was very special as the Saab PhoeniX Concept vehicle hit the streets of New York. I can’t say anything about where and I certainly can’t show you any photos from the night as it was all for a magazine shoot and we need to wait until the issue hits the streets. What I can tell you is that PhoeniX drew a LOT of attention from passers-by.
I think it’s fair to say that PhoeniX has been a vehicle that has forced people to have opinions. You can’t see the car and remain neutral about it.
Seeing it in a cityscape last night was a new revelation for me and from the quotes I collected from people passing by (everyone stopped to ask about it and you’ll probably see some cellphone photos out there on the web).
WHAT kind of car is THAT? (Nearly everyone)
It looks like a small batmobile! (20-something guy)
It’s a Saab? Get outta here! (Around 10 different people, some stopping their cars to check it out)
Is it a hybrid? (Again, a number of different people, showing how hybrids are gaining attention here)
Do you want me to pose in front of it? (Very nice lady, passing by with her husband – they hung around for about 10 minutes checking it out)
If that came into my workshop, I’d be having dreams about it for months. (Young mechanic in training)
Is that the Aero-X? (The same young mechanic, who obviously pays some attention to his Saab concepts)
Is that really from Saab? But they’re famous for making the ugliest cars in the world. (Something I’d clearly disagree with)
It’s so hot. It’s amazing. (Another 20-something guy).
That’s not a filtered list. It’s everyone that I got to speak to personally and as you can see, the reaction was uniformly positive on the streets last night. It really was great to see PhoeniX in a different environment.
Did I mention I got to hear it running, too? The 1.6 turbo sounded fantastic.
Today I’ll be back down at the Javits Center, taking a look at the final stages of setup for the Saab stand.
Before that, however, we have a press event featuring Jason Castriota down at Chelsea Piers. There should be plenty of media there.