Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Blogging in the fast lane

To say that I am flattered GM reached out to me and invited me to be their guest at the Chicago Auto Show would be an understatement. I first learned of the car company's leadership in the blogosphere (check out GM Blogs) at the first Word of Mouth Marketing Conference (2005), and seeing them reach out to bloggers from the perspective of a relatively new blogger is really quite impressive.

Anyway, I felt a bit like an impostor among all of the full-time bloggers in attendance at today's reveal of the Saturn Astra. Unlike the rest of them, I was playing hooky from my paid gig, and I had to get back in time for a late morning meeting. [Thanks Renee for letting me sneak out!] And since Josh is still in NYC, I'm having to forgo the free schmoozy-poo dinners with GM designers and marketers.

So what was it like? The Auto Show, like always, is completely overwhelming. But this morning I was blown away by just the sheer scale of it--no crowds, no music, no cacophony (the show opens to the public in two days)--but acres and acres of highly-polished chrome.

The Saturn Astra, as you can see here, is a pretty euro-sporty compact car--not exactly a family vehicle, but very appealing in a VW Rabbit/Golf kind of way. It's basically the Opal Astra rebranded for America.

I was more turned on to the redesigned 2008 Saturn Vue, which as been given an extreme makeover. No longer the ugly SUV, the Vue has the sleek, curvy appearance of the new Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4. And it will be available as the Vue Green Line hybrid late this year (Franny, are you reading this?)