While the National Truck Summit dominated my time at the Twin Cities Auto Show, there were a few things were worth talking about…
First off, I want to reiterate something I wrote on my Travelogue from my adventures earlier that week in the Chicagoland Burbs: "If you don't put in the work, you will never achieve results. You will never be on anyone's map or on someone's reading list."
Why is it important to talk about results? Isn't it the goal of any publication – digital or otherwise – is to achieve a following? To get webpage hits, likes, social media interactions, views on viral video sites, and so forth?
Certainly, I am grateful for the opportunities afforded to me over the years. Including, being a media participant at the National Truck Summit, However, I had to make sure that I was able to transition to the Twin Cities Auto Show quickly with the media preview moved to Friday evening after the Summit.
It was great to see the show floor, including the new Ram Truck Territory experience that resembled the one seen at the Chicago Auto Show a month before. Camp Jeep will always be an attraction, as will the Ride & Drives. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles returned to the Ride & Drive circuit, along with Volkswagen, Toyota, and a group of electrified vehicles sponsored by Xcel Energy.
The show relocated Luxury Lane to the main floor, swapping it with Truck Territory, which was used as the venue for the National Truck Summit.
By the way, did you know that 82 percent of all new vehicle registration in Minnesota were of pickup trucks, SUVs and crossovers? I did?!? OK…
The Project Car Contest was on again this year. Shane Durrence had his MR2 in a 1980s Toyota racing livery. I love that car – and not just for the livery! However, right next to him was a work of imagination. An 18-year-old named Noah Brush from the Fargo-Moorhead area took four years to build his 1961 Ford Econoline pickup truck into a work of art. It's powered by an early 302 cubic inch V8, attached to a rebuild of two C4 automatic transmissions into one unit. This ride is really custom from the ground up. But, isn't that what project cars are all about?
On top of all of this, I awarded a copy of #VOTY19 to my friend TJ Beadle, the local District Sales Manager for Kia Motors America. Plus, I had an impromptu spot on the Caritrage podcast from Truck Country – with all of the vitriol against all of the crossovers in the room by both Erik Berger and Ryan Senensky.
My highlight, however, was my radio slot on SiriusXM's Road Dog Trucking…
A bit of a backstory is in order here. While I was in the Chicagoland area, I got a text from one of my contacts at NemerFieger telling me that the Auto Show producer OK'd me to be on a radio show. That turned into a phone call, a discussion on talking points, and a tentative slot for my interview with the Dave Nemo Weekends crew on the Road Dog Trucking channel.
I arrived way too early on Friday prior to the National Truck Summit. YUpon arrival into the Minneapolis Convention Center, I called one of the Auto Show producers letting her that I'm here. She told me that the SiriusXM show was looking for a 9:45 AM interview because someone backed out. I scrambled to the ballroom to see that their 9:30 AM interview with Jack Sackett of Toyota Motor North America was still going on into the slot. Believe me, I'm glad he continued through that slot. It saved me from embarrassment.
At their commercial break, I touched base with the producers and the hosts to confirm my Saturday spot at 8:15 AM. That was confirmed and I breathed a sigh of relief.
I return to the Convention Center Saturday morning early and ready to go on air. The hosts of the Dave Nemo Weekends show on Road Dog Trucking, Clare Marie Gauthier and Jimmy Mac, were simply wonderful. So was Dave, as he took to the background during our interview. It was a wonderful 15 minutes, as I talked about how I got into the business, what influenced me, the marketplace, and so forth. I can't recall exactly what I said.
All I knew was that the hosts felt I did a great job. I was not nervous, and I came off pretty confident. Nemo was definitely complimentary. Even you told me I did a great job on the show! Me? I'm more hypercritical, but I did alright.
It has been years since I've been on the air. I think it was some 13 or so years ago when I was on an LGBT show on KFAI-FM in Minneapolis. Boy has times changed…as have the work I brought to the radio.
PROGRAM ALERT: If you missed my interview with Jimmy Mac and Clare Marie and you have the SiriusXM app, you can go to the On Demand feature and go back to listen to it. Make sure you are searching through channel 146 (Road Dog Trucking) and Dave Nemo Weekends for Saturday, March 7.
Every year at the Twin Cities Auto Show, I do a few Ride & Drives to catch up or get a preview of the coming attractions. With that said, I experienced a Fiat 124 Spider Lusso, a custom Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon loaded up with Mopar accessories, a 2020 Volkswagen Passat, and a 2020 Volkswagen Jetta GLI.
I have driven the 124 Spider before and enjoyed its classic driving experience. The Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon is always about the experience, but it seemed a bit too much for the urban environment. The Passat showed its improvements but remained true to what it continues to do – being a relaxed and poised way to drive around in. As for the Jetta GLI, it is more than just a GTI with a trunk. I'll leave you with that.
This Twin Cities Auto Show marks the 15th anniversary of my first show I attended since moving to this area. It also marks the ninth anniversary of my first show as a media. Things have changed and progressed. As have I. I put in the work to get to where I have arrived to do radio spots and being seen as a mere local freelance automotive journalist.
It's still my local show. That's all I have to say about that.
All photos by Randy Stern, except otherwise noted. Cover photo by Dave Nemo Weekends/SiriusXM Road Dog Trucking for Victory & Reseda