Jaguar/Land Rover test drive tracks debut in Washington

For first time ever at the Washington Auto Show was the Jaguar/Land Rover test track, a 100,000-square-foot area housing on-and off-road driving tracks. On weekends, showgoers waited in line for two or three hours for the chance to drive on a track. The Land Rover course had an experienced off-roader who would drive visitors around the track. But most people wanted to try it for themselves, and they did. Who would not want the chance to get behind the wheel of a new Land Rover and roll over 3.3 million pounds of dirt?


Also new to the 2018 Washington Auto Show was the Jaguar side of the area featuring its new E-Pace. A racing driver took  show visitors around this course to demonstrate the street performance of the new model – so new that it had not yet arrived at dealer showrooms at the time of the Auto Show. (The E-Pace is expected to go on sale at Jaguar dealers this month.)


Mass market brands also offered racing simulators. There were long lines for Ford’s simulator for its Focus RS race car, and Hyundai had a very popular racing game that included a simulator. Outside the convention center, ride and drives by six manufacturers gave showgoers a chance to try out new models on city streets. Student Day, Jan. 26, and Military Day, Jan. 30 – longstanding Washington Auto Show traditions – were both well received and well attended. Students received discounted admission on Student Day, which was timed to coincide with a school holiday in some area school districts. That timing brought a large crowd. See article below, “Military Tribute Day has service dogs, Star Wars figures for kids.”


Before the Auto Show opened to the public, there were three days packed with industry panels and press conferences. The increasingly popular MobilityTalks International, now in its third year, took place Jan. 23 to 24, and Auto Show Media Day was Jan. 25. Those events are covered in detail in the Feb. 2 WANADA Bulletin. Jan. 23 and 24 marked the first time that two U.S. Senate committee field hearings were held onsite at the Washington Auto Show.


Apart from the hearings, a number of senators and members of Congress toured the Auto Show. Some were especially interested in visiting the booths of the automakers that had a plant in their state. More detail can be found in the article below, “Many senators, members of Congress tour the Washington Auto Show.”


This year’s Washington Auto Show had  strong media coverage. Reporters from Channels 4, 5, 7 and 9 did live TV news interviews with John Ourisman, Washington Auto Show chairman and president of Ourisman Automotive; Show Producer O’Donnell, and Assistant Producer Joe Koch. Auto Show CFO Isabel Garcia, who is fluent in Spanish, was interviewed by Telemundo and Univision. There was some coverage in media outlets that have not covered the Washington Auto Show before, such as New York Daily News,and a website reporter from the CBS affiliate in Philadelphia.


“The 2018 Washington Auto Show was a success by any metric,” said show chairman Ourisman. “Attendance was up, and we got great feedback about the cars on display, the experiential options including both indoor and outdoor ride-and-drives, and the overall ambiance of the Auto Show. We’re delighted with how everything turned out, and are excited to build on that momentum as we look towards the show in 2019.”


The Auto Show will have a different feel next year as it moves to the spring. MobilityTalks International, other conferences and Media Day will take place from April 2 to April 4, and the consumer show will run ten days, from April 5 to April 14.

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