New Car Fever: A Cure for Cabin Fever?

Are you sick of the snow or are you just sick of being trapped inside your home? Let’s be honest, for most residents of this region its been a week since they saw someone other than their family and their neighbors.  I think we all love our family … but you do need some time away.

I spent this afternoon at a place where I’m sure many will visit to get rid of thier “cabin fever” in favor of  “new car fever”. The Pittsburgh International Auto Show  is always a big event in this region, but given the fact many of us haven’t seen a car not covered in snow it should be a real treat.

(EDITOR’S NOTE – Click here to watch the video of Andrew Stockey’s auto show tour.)

During my visit, I had a chance to see some of the new things coming out from the car dealers. There are the so-called “green” cars which are better for the environment. There are the always popular “concept” cars which won’t be in showrooms … just yet. While the one that will catch your eye will be the Corvette Stingray from the movie “Transformers”, the car that grabbed my attention was the Ford Edge. It’s not the outside that makes it so attractive, but its what’s on the inside.

This might surprise you, but Ford is one of the leaders in interactive technology. The idea is to integrate your car with your cell phone or personal device. Ford’s Edge actually makes your car into an iPhone. The dashboard is a touch screen which does all the things an iPhone can do. The only button you press in the car starts the ignition. The rest is touch screen technology.

While its fun to look into the future, the manufacturers I spoke with were realistic about the present. 2009 was maybe the worst year ever: not only for car sales but auto makers reputations. Between the bailouts and the recent recalls, people weren’t feeling good about their cars. However, there is a real sense of optimism at the show. The cars on display don’t skimp on extra or technology. The idea being that Americans still love their cars and after being stuck in the snow, they don’t need an economic reality check from their cars.

Whether you are planning to buy a car or not, it’s a good chance to see what’s out there and, more importantly, ask questions. There is no high pressure sale here. It’s a chance to get smart about your car … and about the next car you might buy. If you have concerns about the Toyota recall, then ask the Toyota representative.

Most of all, whether you hit the car show or not, try to get outside and get out of the house. Indulge your fantasies at the car show … or just indulge somewhere as long as  you get out of the house.

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