The Frankfurt auto show is a big deal. Sure, Frankfurt has a great
list of production and concept unveils set for next week, but that's
not what sets it apart. The auto show organizers over in Deutschland
are so confident that their show is top-notch, they pull it off only
once every two years — yet it still remains relevant up against
premier annual auto shows like Detroit, Los Angeles, New York and
Geneva. Maybe they're on to something.
I'm the winner of the
Line Win a Trip to Frankfurt Auto Show Contest. As an
automotive junkie this trip is a dream. As a mechanical engineering
and journalism student, and someone who wouldn't mind being paid to
write about cars, it's the opportunity of a lifetime.
The highlight of the excursion revolves around Saturn. After the
auto show I'll spend time behind the wheel of a
Astra, a car sold in Europe as the Opel Astra. This time, no
one's complaining about the General's badge engineering. The Astra
is 100 percent new to the United States, but it's Europe's
best-selling car, and is sure to be more appealing than the Saturn
Ion, which it's replacing in the company's lineup. We'll see if the
new hatch has what it takes to topple the Mazda 3 and Honda Civic
from their compact-car thrones.
In Frankfurt, I'll also meet with Saturn's general manager, Jill
Lajdziak and tour GM's Tech Center. During Tuesday's press
conferences, I'll keep an eye on some of the Astra's small-car
counterparts like the
BMW 1 Series,
Ford Verve and
Mini Cooper S Clubman. Each will have an influence on the
growing U.S. compact and subcompact markets.
For the dreamers, I'll be tracking the
Aston Martin V8
Porsche's GT2. When Aston announces the price for its DBS, I
won't even remind you that you can't afford a month's insurance, let
alone the actual car payment. That's what the auto shows are all
about — dreaming, no matter how irrational. From stupidly ugly
concepts to grossly powerful engines to cars based on technologies
that won't exist for another decade, Frankfurt is poised to deliver
all of the car-filled fantasies and absurdities you can handle.
So gear up for
Inside Line's 2007 Frankfurt Auto Show coverage. I'll
be blogging about my unique experience: the chaos of the show,
meeting auto execs and, of course, cars. You'll also get Edmunds'
in-depth and immediate coverage of all the Frankfurt unveils — and
it only happens once every two years. It's kind of like the
Olympics, except it's actually entertaining. — Eric Tingwall,
Contest Winner and Citizen Journalist