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Auto Show: Eric at the Show Eating Fried Green Potatoes
Date: Sept 10,
Edmunds Inside Line
The guest list (which doesn’t include our names for some reason; we
just smile and nod until we get in) is like the roster of an automotive
journalism all-star game. In addition to several of my childhood writing
heroes, GM car guru Bob Lutz, GM Design Chief Ed Wellburn and
Saturn General Manager Jill
Lajdziak are here along with some key Opel people. And they’re
not just here, they’re socializing with anyone and everyone, even peons
like me! Rumor has it that GM chief exec Rick Wagoner’s around here,
too, but he must be avoiding me.
The occasion is the unveiling of
Opel’s Flextreme concept.
Sized between an Astra and a Zafira, the Flextreme is another take on
GM’s silver-bullet E-Flex technology. Regardless of how far off the
technology is, there’s a lot to like about the Flextreme. The interior
design is futuristic, yet not unrealistic. The rear taillights are
thoughtfully integrated into the rear windscreen. Opel says the
Flextreme’s exterior styling,
which includes a wickedly sloped A-pillar, could point toward a next-gen
Astra design. You can
read more about the Flextreme elsewhere, as I’ll use the rest of
this space to pass on some of the most memorable moments from my first
full-blown auto press event.
Most down-to-earth auto exec: We’re at an international auto show,
and we’re talking with Saturn's
Lajdziak about screaming babies and jet lag. Eventually I’ll grow
the cajones to talk cars, but it was comforting to know within minutes
of meeting her, that Lajdziak and I share a general dislike of napping.
I spent a decent amount of time talking with Lajdziak regarding the
Saturn/Opel relationship and future products we’ll see from the Ringed
Planet automaker. But I’ve got another meeting with the Saturn general
manager tomorrow morning and plan to fire off a few more questions so I
can put up a whole post on the topic.
Most absurd vehicle feature: Opel’s
Antara currently offer an
option called the Flex-Fix. It’s a tray that slides out from the rear
bumper to carry two bikes. At tonight’s premier event, Opel took it a
step further, which coincidently happened to be a step too far. Rather
than bikes, the Flextreme contains two Segway scooters completely hidden
behind its rear bumper. GM claims they’re to be used for those final few
blocks you need to travel between your parking spot on your final
destination. We thought that’s what feet were for.