It’s been awhile since we’ve been to the Chicago Auto Show, but seeing as how it’s the biggest show in our (sort of) backyard, we figured we’d make a road trip out of it and go check out the Windy City for a couple days. Thanks to our friends at Morrie’s Luxury Auto, we had a gassed up 2017 Maserati Ghibli to get us across Wisconsin and to McCormick Place, home of the 2017 Chicago Auto Show. More >
So… We skipped the North American International Auto Show in Detroit this year. It’s a fun show but it turns Detroit into a complete circus. Hotels are few and far between, flights are expensive, and the weather sucks. So we just said “screw it” and decided to road trip out to Chicago next month for the next big auto show on the calendar. Personally, I’m a little bummed we didn’t go this year. There are a lot of exciting cars that have been unveiled this week that we weren’t there to see, but hey, hindsight is 20/20, right?
So instead of showing you our coverage of the show, we’re going to be borrowing stories from all of our favorite automotive news sites and giving you our thoughts on the coolest unveilings in Motor City this year.
Another day in LA, another post full of photos. The big highlight of Day 2 was seeing Subaru pull the wraps off of their new 7-passenger SUV concept. Bigger than anything they’ve ever built before, we’re looking forward to seeing it in production trim next year before it launches in 2018. The rest of the day was spent soaking in some of the details at each booth, as well as trying to capture the scale some of the booths of a big auto show like this.
We’re on the scene in Los Angeles, CA this week during the media days of the LA Auto Show. With so many new reveals and beautiful cars from wall to wall, we figured we should distill things down and bring you the coolest stuff we saw on Day One. Make sure to check back tomorrow to see more, and stop by our Youtube channel for videos of all the important cars from the show as well!
It’s been a long time in the works but Morrie’s Minnetonka Subaru’s remodel, transforming it to the biggest, most modern Subaru dealership in the Midwest is just about done. We’ve appreciated all of our customers’ patience as we’ve completely renovated not only our show floor but also our service and parts area. Before, we had two separate show floors and a tired service area that was dirty and poorly lit. Here’s what we used to look like:
The plan for construction was to clear out the service area behind the bigger of our two show floors and expand back, with more room for customers, including a new customer lounge, a playroom for children, and new finance offices. We also added a new area for our service advisors and cleaned up our service drive. We expanded our service center with more lighting and windows, as well as more lifts to work on cars to speed up service. To top everything off, we freshly painted the whole building and updated our signs and facias to give our dealership a bold, new look.
And now, we’re up and running on our new show floor with plenty of space both for all of our amazing customers as well as the latest and greatest Subaru models! Stop by soon and see for yourself!
After each major auto show, we like to sit back and simmer on what we saw for a little bit. It’s important to think about what we saw and where we think the auto industry as a whole is headed. Oftentimes, an auto show will have an underlying theme or trend beyond the glitz, glamor, and luxury of the latest and greatest new cars. For instance, last year in Detroit, the North American International Auto Show was all about sports cars. The Los Angeles Auto Show tends to alternate between driving fun, sporty cars or big, lumbering crossovers. The New York show, a one-to-one transfer of urban and affluent world around it, was loaded up with high-end luxury vehicles and sports cars. And with over 25 new vehicles making their debut in the halls of the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center this year, we figured we should pick a few highlights from the show that warrant a closer look.
Most Fun: This has to go to the new Mazda MX-5 RF. Although the beautiful flying buttresses and hardtop mechanism add an estimated 100 lb weight penalty to the lightweight roadster, we’ll gladly take the extra style and security of a hardtop in this case. Mazda took a car we already loved to drive and gave us a reason to drive it even more.
Best Concept: This was a tough decision between the Lincoln Navigator and the Genesis New York Concept but the Genesis wins because it’s the one we most want to drive. We like the edgy, overstyled design cues and high-tech futuristic tech but what really got our attention was the 3.3L V6 making 365 HP that we were promised. While we’re not sure if Genesis will actually implement technologies like gesture control and a 21-inch curved 4K display sprawling across the dash, we’re looking forward to seeing a production version in the near-ish future.
Best Overall Booth: It’s pretty safe to say that Nissan had the best booth of the entire show (they actually had two booths). We loved Nissan’s booths so much because for the 2017 GTR unveiling, Nissan brought out six vintage GTRs from 1969 all the way up to 2014 to show their lineage. While we were impressed by the 2014 Nurburgring record-holding GTR NISMO and enjoyed a bit of nostalgia for the R32, R33, and R34 models that we idolized in Gran Turismo video games, the true stars in our eyes were the 1969 KPGC10 and 1974 KPCG110 models that just ooze style.
Most Luxurious: Now the Lincoln Navigator Concept gets its chance to shine. Aside from the huge gullwing door opening, Lincoln Motor Company’s tagline “Quiet Luxury” couldn’t be more fitting for this SUV concept. The interior design is pure opulence while the exterior styling makes more of a statement than any Rolls Royce. Assuming Lincoln stays true to this design for the production Navigator like they did with the Continental, we’ll be happy campers.
Driver’s Choice: As you might know if you follow our Morrie’s Heritage Car Connection blog, a bunch of us here at Morrie’s love to get out and drive. Many of us are also loyal Porsche enthusiasts which is why the new 911R spoke to us the most as the car we wanted to get in and drive at the 2016 New York International Auto Show. A 4.0-liter, naturally aspirated Flat-6 generating 500 HP carries over from the street-legal race car GT3RS but what makes the 911R special is that it’s linked to a model-exclusive 6-speed manual transmission instead of the usual PDK gearbox we see in Porsche’s GT models. It’s meant to be driven hard and put away wet, and that’s what we’re all about.
Unobtanium Award: Just because we’ll probably never see another one of these again, we’ve got to pick the Koenigsegg Regera (and its One:1 stablemate) as the biggest jaw-dropper of the show. Something about having well over 1,000 HP packed into a lightweight, carbon-fiber shell with loads of other technologies including a hybrid drivetrain that eliminates the need for a transmission, and this is pure, unfiltered, car-nerd dream fodder. More than any other booth at the show, we probably went out of our way to walk past the Koenigseggs the most. Soak it in, my friends. This thing is wild!
While Day 1 at the 2016 New York International Auto Show was packed to the gills with all sorts of major reveals, there were only a handful by comparison on Day 2. This left us with more time to wander the showfloor and see anything we missed in the chaos on Day 1 while also making sure to see what had just been revealed. For instance, we couldn’t keep ourselves away from the rows of supercars where we saw a Bugatti, a Spyker, and two brand new Koenigseggs on the stand. The same was true for the Porsche stand which drew us in with the rare and beautiful 911R and the new 718 Boxster S. We also got to spend a little more time with the Maserati Levante, where we checked out the gorgeous Zegna-trimmed interior (it’s pretty dang nice!)
We also circled back to Genesis – Hyundai’s new luxury brand – to check out their New York Concept vehicle that we ought to see hit the compact luxury sedan segment in the next couple of years. Although this was very much a style exercise for the show, Genesis already had a list of drivetrain specs as well as a beautifully designed interior, although it’s unlikely many of the interior details (like the 21-in curved 4K display from LG on top of the dash) will make it to production.
We’re in New York this week covering the 2016 New York International Auto Show during the press preview. In addition to creating a ton of fresh video content from the showfloor, we made sure to snap a ton of photos of our favorite new (and some old) cars that we found at the show. Now, we love the big international auto shows as much as anybody but we’re going to walk you through some of the highlights so keep reading!
First up, Mazda excited us with the MX-5 RF, a retractible hardtop model that carries more of a targa look when the top is stowed. It’s a great new look for our favorite convertible and we think Mazda really outdid themselves this time. How could you not love that shape?!?
Nissan also rolled out another updated version of the GT-R. With more power, more comfort, and more luxurious materials throughout, the GT-R continues to justify its existence for another year while we wait with bated breath for a completely new version that is rumored to come out next year as a 2018 model. Still, it’s hard to fault Nissan for building a bright orange, 580 hp rocketship, but the real stars of the Nissan booth were all the vintage GT-Rs they brought out for the show, dating back to 1969!
MINNETONKA, Minn., March 3, 2016 /PRNewswire/ – Fremont Private Holdings, LLC (“FPH”) and Karl Schmidt announced that they have completed the acquisition of Morrie’s Automotive Group (“Morrie’s” or the “Company”), owner and operator of 11 automotive dealership locations. FPH, Schmidt and management acquired the Company from Morrie Wagener and the Wagener family.
Morrie’s was founded in the 1960s when Morrie Wagener purchased a single automotive dealership where he worked as a mechanic and manager. Today, the Company has grown to become one of the largest automotive retail groups in the Twin Cities. Since inception, Morrie’s has been run as a family business that emphasized customer service and satisfaction. The Company’s values were formalized nearly seven years ago, when Morrie’s developed its “Buy Happy” promise. The Company offers a no-haggle, best-price approach where vehicles have predetermined prices, which are not negotiable. The Company continues that philosophy today, helping customers have fun purchasing vehicles and focusing on service in a customer-friendly environment.
Morrie’s will continue to be led by CEO Karl Schmidt, who commented, “FPH is the perfect partner for our business. We share the same vision for the Company, and FPH brings a strong knowledge of the industry as well as access to the capital and resources necessary to enable us to continue to improve our offerings and better serve our customers.”
According to Scott Earthy, Managing Partner of FPH, “We look forward to our partnership with Karl and his team, who created the Buy Happy promise and have led Morrie’s to where it is today. The Company is one of the leading dealership groups in the Twin Cities area. We are excited about the opportunity we have to enhance our operations and expand in the Upper Midwest region over time.”
Tim Sheehy, Partner of FPH, added, “Morrie’s exemplifies everything we look for in an investment – an attractive, unique service offering, a proven and dedicated team, and a demonstrated history of success. We look forward to working closely with Karl and the management team to achieve our strategic goals.”
For more information on Morrie’s, please visit http://www.morries.com.
About Morrie’s Automotive Group
Morrie’s Automotive Group was founded in 1960 by Morrie Wagener, a graduate of Dunwoody College of Technology. Currently, Morrie’s Automotive Group offers 10 brands, including Aston Martin, Bentley, Cadillac, Ford, Hyundai, Lincoln, Maserati, Mazda, Nissan and Subaru with locations in Minnesota and Wisconsin. For more information, visit www.morries.com.
About Fremont Private Holdings
Fremont Private Holdings is the direct private investment arm of Fremont Group, the investment office for the Bechtel family. FPH makes platform investments of $30 million to $100 million in growing family and founder-owned operating businesses generating $15 million to $50 million in EBITDA. FPH looks to build businesses in partnership with management over the long term and considers both majority and minority investments in a wide variety of industries. For more information, visit www.fremontprivateholdings.com.
I just wanted to take a quick moment to discuss what Ford is doing right now, and how excited that should make all of us. We recently took a trip out to the city of Detroit (home of the blue oval) for the North American International Auto Show where, once again, I was blown away by what Ford was doing. I also learned that the auto show attracted some 815,000+ people this year which is a completely different point but nonetheless makes me happy for the auto industry in general. Ford had an amazing display with all the the latest and greatest including the new Ford Fusion, which will be a 325hp AWD sedan that should blow away the competition.
So back to my original point in that Ford is onto something special right now and I truly think this is a great enhancement for the auto industry in general. I mean look at the lineup that Ford is bringing to the table right now. Cars, trucks and SUVs that are everyday capable vehicles that are reliable and, in some regards, the best selling vehicle (cough, cough F-150) for almost the last 40 years. Then look at all this excitement they are building and that really is what this article is all about. Let me start at the so called, “bottom” and work my way up.