Car Shows — February 12, 2012 at 3:15 pm

Baltimore Auto Show: What Once Was

What happened? I wanted so badly to disregard other peoples opinions of the show and be able to start this article off on a positive note – but after attending the show on Saturday evening – I simply can’t. The 2012 Baltimore Auto Show is not what it used to be. It has been on a steady decline the past three years. I have been to the Baltimore Auto Show for as long as I can remember. As a kid I would go on Sunday with my Dad, I had my car in the show one year in the “after market alley”, and the past couple of years I’ve covered it as “media” for MDSS. So I think I’m qualified to speak on the decline of what I saw as a great family event for Baltimore during the cold, generally boring, winter.

I have always understood that the Baltimore Auto Show was more of   a dealer showroom – compared to the Washington or New York Auto Shows. However, when some of the big manufacturers don’t even show up – what does it become? I believe the Baltimore Auto Show is unique in that the local dealers have to provide the cars for the show versus corporate sending out cars. So I’ve been quick to defend the show in that regard – people shouldn’t get their hopes up – thinking they are going to see the latest concepts. But this year literally was a showroom of cars you could see driving up and down York Road. There was really nothing to stare at aww in – the exotics and modified cars that lots of real car people like to see.

I was surprised to see the 2013 Acura ILX in Acura’s display. I didn’t see that at the Washington Auto Show this year – which also surprised me since that show had numerous concept cars. (Though, The ILX isn’t even a concept – it’s actually going to be produced.) Besides this car, and maybe the Land Rover Evoque, there weren’t any NEW cars that stood out. Hyundai didn’t have the 2013 Genesis.

Where was BMW, Mercedes, Audi, Porsche, exotics, aftermarket cars, etc.? 1 floor?! The show used to be 3 floors of fun! Domestics on the bottom, aftermarket alley and vendors on the middle and luxury and exotics on the top floor.

How about the shuttle service from the Camden Yards parking lot to the front door or the Convention Center? Where was that – that has been a feature for as long as I can remember – perhaps spoiled? That was a bitter cold walk on Saturday night with the wind.

I understand the show lacking the past 2 years when the economy and auto industry was on a fritz – but the auto industry has a lot of new cars this year and judging by the concepts and new cars shown at Detroit – the industry is back – what happened in Baltimore? What a disappointment.

  1. More floors w/ ALL vendors
  2. Exotics
  3. Concept cars
  4. After market alley
  5. Custom car show inside the show (They tried this in 2011)
  6. Shuttle

2 Comments

  1. Your article expresses my exact reactions after walking through the show. I remember the first year I went, there were tons of Ferrari’s, Lamborghini’s, and just exotics in general. If the Baltimore Auto Show keeps declining, I don’t know what will become of it. Very disappointed this year.

  2. Can’t agree more. I remember going several years ago and it being more of an afternoon-long outing with the family. It hardly took an hour this year.

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