The show attracted a global premiere in the Hyundai Accent and 16 concept cars in total this year, five more than in 2016, including the North American debut of the Aston Martin AM-RB001 hypercar.
In the Auto Exotica exhibit, performance enthusiasts saw rare supercars like the Bugatti Chiron and Pagani Huayra alongside McLarens and classic Ferraris.
The Art and the Automobile exhibit brought Canada’s automotive history together with specimens like Canada’s first car, the Seth Taylor Steam Buggy, and one of two McLaughlin-Buicks hand-built by what would become General Motors of Canada in Oshawa in 1927 for that year’s royal visit.
And the show tipped its hat to the 50th anniversary of Formula 1 racing in Canada with a room full of classic race cars, including Gilles Villeneuve’s 1978 Montreal race-winning no. 12 Ferrari.
The show offered free child care, but many families opted not to use it and instead roamed the floor together. This is how young automotive obsessions begin: with children holding their parents’ hands ogling fascinating cars.
And few attendees leave without heading to the main halls to take a gander at their latest automotive objects of desire, possibly even spotting new ones along the way. They may not be actively in the market for a new vehicle, but memories are banked for later.
It’s this ability to treat Toronto’s auto show as an event rather than a shopping mall that’s giving its organizers an edge. For those in the industry shows are all dollars and cents, which makes it easy to forget that for consumers the automobile remains about passion.
CIAS fosters it like no other. Competitors would be wise to take note.