There’s a pretty big auto show going on up-river in Detroit.
But as we type, there’s also one going on down-river in Montréal.
Normally, Montréal, well, occupies the aft-most position when Mother is feeding her babies (can’t use the real expression in a family news-blog) because given the similarity in timing of the two shows, most car makers will choose the more massive Detroit venue to get their stories out to the press, and subsequently to the public.
This year, however, due to a variety of specific circumstances, Montréal actually has a few North American premieres, cars that for whatever reasons were not in Detroit.
Chief among them, sales-wise anyway, is the Hyundai Accent. Not sure why this car wasn’t at Detroit; maybe it was because Canada, and specifically Québec, is a huge market for this car, and perhaps Hyundai USA wanted to concentrate on the Sonata and Elantra, which are bigger deals down there.
Regardless, the Accent is as attractive in its segment as Elantra and Sonata are in theirs - this company really is at the top of its game right now.
Status-wise, the BMW X1 Crossover probably tops the Montreal roster. Why did BMW pick Montréal for the X1's North American debut? Seems this vehicle has been very popular in every market where it has been introduced over the past few months, to the extent that production in the Leipzig (formerly-East) Germany plant cannot keep up with demand. As the volume slowly ramps up, there will be sufficient numbers to satisfy the expected sales in the Canadian market over the next few months, but not for the larger United States market. So the corporate decision was made to launch the X1 in Canada first; the US will follow either in late 2011 or early 2012.
Chevrolet chose Montréal to introduce the Orlando seven-seat compact crossover for the very good reason that the US has decided not to import the car, reversing an earlier decision. GM figures things like the Equinox can handle the compact family-bus duties in the US, which gives such as Kia Rondo, Ford’s new C-MAX and the new Mazda5 one less competitor to worry about in Canada. (By the time I got to the Show, the floor GM was on was closed to prepare for the 'charity preview' night, so I don't have a photo of the Orlando for you. Sorry about that.)
Speaking of Mazda5, Mazda calls the Montréal appearance of the Mazda5 the car’s ‘Canadian premiere’. Maybe to the general public, but the rural Milton public saw this car a couple of weeks ago because I had one on test just before Christmas - more details in the print edition of Wheels next week.
By the way, did you know that the French (well, Québec-French) translation of ‘Zoom-Zoom’ is ‘Vroum-Vroum’? Language police, come on…
So, Montréal is doing pretty well against Detroit this year. Still, it views its main competition as Toronto. It has a built-in advantage of being a month ahead of Toronto, and with these North American debuts, you can forgive the show organizers for being just a little bit proud.