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Bigger May Be Better At Auto Show

Photo credit: Keith McCord

SANDY, Utah – It’s the new car season, which means auto shows are taking place all over the country.

And, the big Utah International Auto Expo is now open in Sandy. This show is one of 63 that are being held around the country, and it’s always a popular event as tens of thousands will visit during the holiday weekend.

Photo credit: Keith McCord

A large crowd was waiting to get inside the showroom floor when the doors opened Friday morning. On display, they saw more than 350 brand-new, 2019 vehicles from dozens of manufacturers.

If you attend this year’s show, you’ll no doubt notice a bit of a change from past years – manufacturers are going big! There are bigger SUV’s, bigger pickups, bigger crossovers. What’s causing this trend? Gasoline prices, which have stayed low for several years now, is one factor. And the newer, bigger models now get much better mileage.

“Before, when you had a sedan, you could haul people and maybe a suitcase and got good mileage,” said long time Utah auto executive Michael Macdonald.

MacDonald, along with dealer owner Mark Miller, were inducted into the 2019 Utah New Car Dealers Hall of Fame prior to the show opening on Friday morning.

Photo credit: Keith McCord

“Now people want their vehicle to do more than that,” MacDonald said.

“Many of these trends have to do with people’s driving patterns and what they like,” said Craig Bickmore, Executive Director of the New Car Dealers of Utah. “So you’ll see passenger cars are being phased out, and SUV’s, crossovers or the combination SUV or heavy truck, people like those.”

Because auto-buying habits are changing, manufacturers are having to adapt. Several companies: Chevrolet, Volkswagen, Cadillac, and Ford among them, are phasing out models that are no longer popular.

“We’ve got a couple that are going away,” said Conn Famuliner, Zone Manager for Ford Motor Company. “The Taurus is going away this year. Focus has gone away this year as well. So yes, those are two examples of moving to what people are looking for.”

Photo credit: Keith McCord

So, will this bigger-is-better trend last? Will we ever see a Hummer again? For now, that’s anybody’s guess. But manufacturers know that if and when the public wants something new and different, they’ll have to be ready to respond.

“I’ve been in this business for over 30 years, and what’s hot today may phase out tomorrow or increase,” Bickmore said. “But it will cycle in and out and what the public wants and the consumer wants to drive, the manufacturers will be nimble enough to supply that demand.”