Best & Worst of Utah International Auto Expo 2012

By | January 22, 2012

Last weekend, the Utah International Auto Expo came to the South Towne Expo Center in Sandy, and we were expecting a lot after the last few years. It did not disappoint.

This show brought the likes of the Ferrari FF, Ferrari 599 Apartera, Audi R8 5.2FSI, Mercedes SLS AMG, and many other worthy track stars. However, the most fitting post, it seems, would be to cover the very best and very worst of show…so here it goes:


Best Buzz: Fisker Booth

The newest addition to the state in terms of exotic car dealerships is Hadley Auto’s Fisker dealership in American Fork. Beautiful cars sold by a staff of enthusiasts. The way it’s supposed to be.

As you walk the aisles and peruse the displays so meticulously put together by each manufacturer, the conversations of car freaks and petrolheads are so readily heard that you almost don’t feel bad for eavesdropping. We can’t count the number of times that we heard auto nuts raving about Fisker.

It wasn’t that the display booth was especially awe-inspiring. In fact, it wasn’t (unless you consider 3 Karmas behind velvet rope awesome). The fact that the dealership brought these rare gems to the show was reason enough to spread the word. Congratulations, Fisker, on the royal shock and awe!

Best Exhibit: Jeep

Jeep brought a showing like never before. If you remember last year when we attended the Arizona Auto Expo, we raved about the Jeep exhibit. Well, this year, they kicked it up a notch.

jeep exhibit utah international auto expo 2012

Not only did they have the same Jeep rides over very rugged terrain (albeit with a few fewer terrain types, but understandable to save time and valuable floor space), but they also had a rock climbing wall for energetic teens, and, our personal favorite, a small track for kids to drive Jeep power wheels around. Genius. Pure genius.


Ugliest Car: Toyota

Manufacturers tried very hard to show both the most impressive models and the most impressive mods for the public. Toyota brought a complete and utter fail-barrassment of a truck. It started out as a tailgater’s dream with a big screen TV and a grill in the back. But then it turned all gaudily countryboy on us with giant belt buckles for door handles and one on the grille. We understand that a lot of work went into it to make it that ugly, but we just can’t appreciate it.

World's Ugliest Truck: Utah International Auto Expo 2012

Worst Omission: Nissan

Every car company brought their prized models. Chevy brought their ZR1, Caddy brought their CTS-v variants, and Audi brought their R8 V-10, and Nissan brought their … wait for it … 370z. Yeah. Lame.

Seriously, Nissan?! You couldn’t set aside one of your supercars that cost less than $100k for your nationwide expos? Everyone else brought their biggest and best, and for the last 2 years, you didn’t. Congratulations. Every enthusiast who attended the show is disappointed in you.

[AJ Wilcox]


Greg on January 23, 2012 at 9:14 am.

Totally agree on Nissan, why can’t they bring a GTR? Also sad to see no Toyobaru new sports car there. There have been pictures of it at other car shows.

And Porsche dropped the ball by not showing up at all.

AJ Wilcox on January 23, 2012 at 9:24 am.

Greg, excellent observation. You’re right – Porsche didn’t make a showing at all. The Toyobaru was at SEMA this year, but apparently not important enough to bring on the national circuit. Some dealerships showed up like Fisker and Ferrari, but most were the manufacturer. I can’t blame a dealership for not sparing the resources, but corporate has no excuse IMO. The manufacturers who were on their game made the show good though!

Anonymous on January 23, 2012 at 10:05 am.

Aside from that awful Toyota truck monstrosity, Nissan had kind of crappy cars all around.. I guess by crappy I mean “what were they thinking making that a convertible?!” cars.

Most pleasant surprise (for me)? The Fiat. I liked it more than I thought I would.

AJ Wilcox on January 23, 2012 at 10:29 am.

The Fiat was a nice surprise. I think they had 3-4 models. One of them was a breast-cancer awarenessmobile. That was the one I chose to sit in. My moobs made me feel at home. :)

Chad Waite on January 23, 2012 at 10:58 am.

Couldn’t agree more about Porsche. Last year they were sporting a 911 Turbo S:

Studman0143 on January 25, 2012 at 11:16 pm.

It’s sad that Audi will bring their R8 but Nissan can barely show up with the 370Z.  Totally bummed Porsche didn’t bring a single thing, it’s sad that only Toyota was the only one brave enough to decorate one of their vehicles, but ultimately failed.  But I must say that the only salesperson that was brave enough to talk to somebody with a camera and not a care in the world for buying a brand new car was from Toyota, so hats off to him for trying to make his job less boring.

Be sure to check out my review as well at

AJ Wilcox on January 26, 2012 at 7:38 am.

I checked out your review of the show. Nice job! You pointed out several things I missed. With your focus, you should be securing media passes

Shah Brionez on January 26, 2012 at 12:57 pm.

I was impressed with the Jeeps this year!  Nice way to mix it up and act like the big boys (LA & Detroit shows)

Did I miss Jaguar?  Were they there?  I wanted to see the (que Clarkson voice) “NEW JAG”.  That XF is really growing on me!

AJ Wilcox on January 26, 2012 at 2:40 pm.

I don’t think Jag was there. I also would have liked to have seen the “Nyuu Chaaaagg” as Clarkson might say :)

Chad Waite on January 26, 2012 at 3:14 pm.

I don’t remember seeing them there. They were there last year out in the foyer by the Volvo display (where the Mini display was this year). 

BTW, what did you think of the Mini Cooper Coupe? Did any of you see it?

AJ Wilcox on January 26, 2012 at 3:16 pm.

It was my favorite Mini ever. Although that might be like saying my favorite burps are the ones after pizza. I have to give it credit – it looked really good, though.

Shah Brionez on January 26, 2012 at 4:00 pm.

I did see the Mini Cooper Coupe.  Not a huge fan.

Shah Brionez on January 26, 2012 at 4:01 pm.

Nyuu Chaaaagg, LOVE IT!  New season starts on Sunday, seriously more excited about that than the super bowl!

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