I first found the array of showrooms operated by the Penske Group in Scottsdale, AZ when I headed to the locale to visit the Penske Racing Museum, discovering a connected line of display areas of which the museum is but one of the attractions and that it is quite normal for people who have no intention of buying anything to meander in and out of the array, looking at the cars on show inside as well as those parked up on the campus. American buyers tend to be less keen to wait for the car of their dreams to be built and delivered, so dealers seem to keep far larger inventories than is the case in Europe, which means that there are an awful lot of cars on site, even at this more expensive end of the market. Knowing all this meant that on my recent sojourn in the Phoenix area, it was well worth stopping by to see what was on show this time. I did pop in to the museum, but little had changed there, whereas there was plenty of new metal to have a look at in the ring of showrooms and the lines of cars parked up in front and behind. Here are the highlights:
In honour of the 50th anniversary of the Cobra, this lovely machine was on display. It’s not an original car, but a more recent recreation, but it is very nicely done indeed.
There was a Shelby Daytona Coupe in the Porsche showroom. No, it’s not one of the originals, but a brand new car made this year by a North American company who produces these high quality recreations. ACURA
Despite what Acura may have said in public in the past few years about how people react to the, er, “bold” styling approach they have adopted, the reality is that sales of their cars have suffered and future models are likely to be rather more restrained even in than the toned down versions of the current range. First example of this is the Civic based ILX, numerous examples of which were parked up outside the Acura showroom. It looks neat enough, and the interior is certainly less obviously cheap than in is forebear, so it will be interesting to see how well it sells.
There were examples of all the rest of the range also on show.ASTON-MARTIN
Examples of most of the current range were assembled in the showroom, including several Rapide, along with DBS, DB9 and Vantage models.This Vanquish was the oldest Aston on siteAUDI
Once more, the sales person in here with whom I spoke bemoaned the fact that they are continually short of cars, observing that if he could get a greater supply, he could easily sell them. In particular, they want more diesels. They have just got the TT-RS and there was one of these in the showroom along with a number of other familiar models.
This S4 was parked up outside. Even in the bright Arizona sunshine, I was not convinced that this is its best colour.BENTLEY
Lots of Bentley including the latest Continental GT Coupe and GTC
This Azure arrived whilst I was there, I would guess headed for a service.BMW
The X1 has only just arrived in the US, going on sale as a 2013 model year car. It was joined by the F30 3 series, the rather nice 6 Gran Coupe and plenty of more familiar models from the range.
Whilst I was admiring the various Ferrari on show, I could hear the most amazingly unpleasant conversation going on between a potential customer and a sales advisor. The former was interested in the rather nice 599GTB, but wanted it for $175,000 rather than the $225,000 at which it was priced. I am guessing that he bought cars there before, as when the arrogant and obnoxious prospect was “threatening” that he could get a car like that elsewhere for the money he wanted to pay, the salesman was caught between ttrying to tell the guy that he could not take that sort of price off it and yet he did not want to lose him as a customer. The prospect walked out, in the end telling the salesman in no uncertain terms to “sort out the deal I’ve told you I expect”. I hope he does not get it! So, all rather unpleasant, unlike the cars which were all rather nice!
This 430 was occupying a prominent place in the Porsche showroom. and a couple of Spider models arrived and parked up outside whilst I was on campus.FISKER
The Karma was parked up outside. I’ve seen these at shows for several years now, but production cars are being built, and sold and this is one of them. It is certainly an elegant design. Such a shame that it sounds as if there have quite a lot ot technology and quality issues which have rather soured the ownership experience.
Much to the chagrin of the sales guy I spoke with, America only gets the 5 litre V8 engine which means that there are fewer model variants offered than in other markets. Familiar XF, XJ and XK cars were on in the showroom and parked up outside.
The three Gallardos were joined by one Aventador. The dealer told me that a couple of the first Aventadors that he sold have come
Even the largest models in the Land-Rover range do not seem so big in the US, as there are plenty of vehicles that are bigger in any dimension. American market Freelanders are badged LR2 and the Disocvery an LR4, but eveyrthing else about the range seemed familiar.
Not actually part of the Penske Group, the Mercedes showroom is across the road from everything else. Star billing inside was given to the new GL Class which had just gone on sale. I was interested in seeing this as I had sampled its predecessor earlier in the trip, and remain unclear whether the new model is really new or simply a reworking. Whatever it is, I don’t think they have improved the looks, which have adopted more of Mercedes’ current addiction to greater fussiness.
Other recent new arrivals in the range include the latest ML, the facelifted GLK, the new and rather blobby SL, and there were examples of all of these, as well as this C250 Coupe and a CLS.A separate AMG part of the showroom contained a wide variety of vehicles, with an SLS the centre piece. I’ve never seen on this shade of blue before, and when I saw that it costs $16,000 extra there could be a second explanation over and above the fact that the colour is very much one of minority appeal. There was an SLS in the Penske showroom, nestling up close to Ferrari 458s, too.This AMG CLK was parked up outside.MINI
The MINI showroom contains few cars, but there are plenty outside, with all of the different body styles much in evidence.
Plenty of every type of recent Porsche model, including a rather bold red coloured Cayenne.
There were examples of the Ghost and Phantom on the showroom.
This Corniche was parked up outside, presumably en route in to the service bay.VOLKSWAGEN
The VW showroom is always worth a visit, as whilst the current models are not particularly inspiring (this is a market where the Jetta is the best selling VW model), as there are several Classics on show, with Beetle, Karmann Ghia, Type 2 and “Thing” all immaculately presented.
There were plenty of new VWs as well, including several new New Beetle, the Chatanooga made US market Passat that differs from European cars, as well as the Jetta, GTi (not badged a Golf in America), CC and Routan.