VIP tours strike a responsive chord with new vehicle enthusiasts at the Auto Show

VIP tours strike a responsive chord with new vehicle enthusiasts at the Auto Show

As they did last year, experienced auto journalists John Davis, Les Jackson and Alvin Jones led groups of showgoers on VIP tours of the show. The for hire tours were a big success: tour leaders reported enthusiastic crowds who wanted to keep going, even after walking around both levels of the extremely crowded Washington Auto Show.

–They were very excited to be there,” said Davis of the people on his tour. Davis is producer and host of PBSês MotorWeek, TVês longest running automotive series. –A few had particular types of cars they were interested in, but most folks just wanted to see what was new at the show.”

Jackson had a similarly positive experience. He is co-host and technical expert on –Cruise Control,” a nationally syndicated radio program devoted to all aspects of the automotive world. –Everybody was up-beat about the new cars,” he said.

Jackson, an engineer by training, made a point of explaining the new auto technologies on his tours. He called the Chevrolet Bolt, which has a range of 200 miles, a –game changer” for electric cars.

–Itês what you canêt see thatês really interesting in this Auto Show,” Jackson told his tour groups. He brought them up to speed on safety technology, especially automatic emergency braking. All car companies will be voluntarily using it by 2019. NHTSA has said that every car with that feature will receive a five star safety rating. –I go through why the technologies are there, why theyêre better than human interface,” Jackson said.

His groups were especially interested in autonomous cars and how soon they would be coming to public roads. –Everybody seemed pretty well informed,” Jackson said. –They know about lane avoidance, self-steering, self-parking, but they donêt have a feel for what they are,” he said.

Davis, too, found tour groups interested in automatic braking and lane change assist, wanting to know which cars had those features. They were also interested in electric cars, especially the new Prius and Chevrolet Volt and Bolt. –They werenêt just people looking at shiny metal,” Davis said of the people on his tours.

As for what types of cars the people on Davisês tours were interested in buying? –They were definitely an upscale crowd,” he said. Many were interested in crossovers, and people asked questions about Lexus, Land Rover, Mercedes and BMW.

Alvin Jones, a host of –Planet Vehicle” and the –Womenês Business Report” on DCês News Channel 8, also led a tour of the show on Wednesday night.

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