New Models Debut At South Florida International Auto Show
10 October 1999
MIAMI BEACH, Fla. -- Auto fans who surf the Internet experienced a first this weekend -- live streaming video coverage of the season's first major auto show. The South Florida International Auto Show opened its 29th annual exhibit this weekend and, just hours before the doors opened to the public, the debuts of several Year 2000 vehicles were shown by The Auto Channel on its interactive web site. The Auto Channel used the occasion to announce this year's winners of its Golden Tachometer Awards. Representatives of 12 manufacturers were on hand to accept the awards, all of which are detailed at http://www.theautochannel.com. Saab used the Miami Beach show for the U.S. introduction and first display of its 9-5 Aero sports sedan. "We're using one of our hottest markets to introduce one of our hottest new vehicles," said Dan Chasins, president and COO of Saab Cars U.S.A. The Swedish car maker's new 9-3 Viggen is here as well. Chasins announced that all Saab vehicles now offer the GPS- and cellular- phone-based OnStar telematic system. Toyota vice president Alan DeCarr officially launched the "made-for- Miami-lifestyle" MR2 Spyder, a new mid-engine 2-place soft top roadster which will hit U.S. showrooms in May of 2000. According to DeCarr, the MR2 and a new Tacoma StepSide pickup, also unveiled here today, start the roll-out of six new cars for the model year 2000. DeCarr also announced that Toyota's hybrid gas-electric Prius, first launched in Japan, will be in American showrooms "in about eight months." Mitsubishi's chief operating officer for the U.S., Pierre Gagnon, was guest speaker for journalists gathered at this annual event. He called 1999 Mitsubishi's "most profitable year ever" and cited the impact of e-commerce on auto buying. "Nearly one-half of all buyers use the 'Net," said Gagnon. "It's becoming fundamental to all purchasing decisions. But dealers still add a personal touch unavailable on the 'Net." Other opening day press conferences highlighted the redesigned Daewoo Nubira sedan and Hyundai Tiburon sport coupe. Ford unwrapped its new Excursion SUV, the largest in the American market, and the Focus, a new small sedan already proven in Europe and now marked to replace the Escort. The South Florida International Auto Show, which fills the Miami Beach Convention Center, features more than 1,000 vehicles from 40 manufacturers. It is produced each year by the South Florida Auto-Truck Dealers Association, which comprises 220 dealers in three counties.