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2016 Mercedes-AMG GT S, all photos by: Joel Patel

2016 Mercedes-AMG GT S, all photos by: Joel Patel

Last year, I wrote about how dissatisfied I was with the Washington, D.C. Auto Show.

One would think that D.C., being the nation’s capital, would host the greatest cars found in America today. Unfortunately, that has not been the case since I first started going in high school.

And this year was easily the worst year.

Why? Because:

  • There was a noticeable lack of exciting cars
  • Cars were placed in awkward locations
  • Some of the cars were “locked for your protection”
  • There were the same cars from last year
  • It’s still more of a ‘buyers’ auto show

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the D.C. Auto Show is not for car enthusiasts, but for people looking to buy a car. How do I know this? People weren’t flocking to the insane 2016 Mercedes-AMG GT S. They were bantering about whether they wanted to – not if they could afford to – spend the extra cash on the Z51 package for the Chevrolet Corvette.

Instead of being amazed by the Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat, people are flocking to a pretty spokeswoman for Toyota ranting about how their Mirai (hydrogen-powered car) is going to be on the road in California in 2016. Was she pretty? Absolutely. Was it worth listening to her speech for 10 minutes? Absolutely not.

In fact, the way Dodge positioned the Charger Hellcat in the back of their display besides a Dodge Caravan is a perfect example of why I’m upset. And if Dodge was able to bring the Charger Hellcat, why was the Challenger Hellcat missing? Seems idiotic to bring one and not the other when they’re identical twins.

2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat

2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat

I could rant for hours about the negative aspects of the auto show, but I didn’t think that would be helpful or beneficial. I’m seriously contemplating never going back to the D.C. Auto Show because getting there was more enjoyable than being there, so I’m going to give my thoughts on what would make it better.

What would make the D.C. Auto Show better?

  • More exotic cars, including concepts
  • Not having dealerships trying to sell cars
  • Don’t hire salesman to talk to people about the cars
  • Tell people working at the auto show to actually have knowledge about the cars
  • Position high-traffic cars in easily accessible areas

I understand that some of these may be hard to complete, but it would revamp the entire auto show and how it’s run. It would definitely bring more people in while creating a better show for visitors. It would be a win-win for everyone and that’s all I want.

First off, the lack of exotic vehicles really kills the entire vibe of the auto show. I hate to admit this, but I’ve seen nicer vehicles at Katie’s Cars and Coffee, which is pretty sad. I will say that there were a few Lamborghinis, Ferraris, Aston Martins and a McLaren, but they were on display from a local dealership. That’s kind of like a backhanded compliment, because it’s catering to the extremely rich individuals in the crowd that can actually afford one of these vehicles instead of the six year old inside everyone.

Left: 2014 Lamborghini Aventador, Right: 2015 Lamborghini Huracan

Left: 2014 Lamborghini Aventador, Right: 2015 Lamborghini Huracan

More exotics would bring in a younger, brighter, more enthusiastic crowd, which is exactly what the automotive industry needs. I don’t think the Toyota Corolla ever inspired anyone to join the automotive scene, so why make it the star?

The next thing is to keep local dealerships away from the auto show. I don’t understand why the people in charge of the auto show continue to bring actual dealerships in. How does this even make any sense?

Dealerships proudly display obnoxious stickers on their vehicles for visitors that have the same eyesight as a bat to see exactly where the vehicle came from. If that’s not bad, when I worked the auto show last year, visitors were able to purchase some of the cars on the floor. I don’t know why that’s okay, because it obviously turns the auto show into a glorified dealership. Getting rid of the dealership would also rid the auto show of the salesmen that interact with the visitors.

While I love talking to pretty much anyone, the individuals that work the auto show are just as bad as salesmen at dealerships, because they are salesman from dealerships. They’re like mindless zombies with preset conversations built in. Ask them a question about how this car relates to your car and they’ll lunge after your wallet faster than a rabid squirrel.

Yes, they’ll answer your questions, but with the same sense of deception that everyone’s used to at a dealership. Ask somebody to pop the trunk on a Miata and you’ll get bombarded with a set of rehearsed facts straight off the company’s website. I mean, I just wanted to see the freaking trunk space.

2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06

2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06

Lastly, and most importantly, there needs to be an overhaul of how the cars are placed. I’ve already complained about the location of the Charger Hellcat next to a minivan, but it was the same thing with the 2016 Ford Shelby GT350. 

The newest American muscle car was tucked away in a dark dingy corner surrounded by multiple electric vehicles, which I find very ironic. I almost missed it because Ford had nothing else that was new and decided to place their hottest vehicle besides one of their dullest.

I really don’t get it. I used to look forward to the D.C. Auto Show when I was younger. It was a place where I could see exotic vehicles and argue with car enthusiasts about cars. I would spend hours taking pictures, sitting in each car and daydreaming about the day I would have enough money to buy one of the exotics on display.

Next year, I’ll check out what cars are there before I go. I don’t see the point in going to take pictures of six cars that I will probably see at Katie’s Cars and Coffee during the warmer months. Maybe I’ll try to save some money and go the Detroit Auto Show next year, that’d be worth it.

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