Automobiles And Detroit: Finding The Passion Again
CNBC Special Features Reporter
It's always fun when you gain a little clarity. And it's often very interesting where you find it.
This time it came just off Woodward Avenue outside Detroit. 40,000 classic cars and somewhere near or over a million people. It's the 50's, the 60's and it's the 70's. But wait a minute. It's actually about the future. In amongst all these 'classics', the real message comes in the form of a question. What's next for Detroit? The same year GM is passed by Toyota as the number one car maker in the world, the largest gathering of classic cars and people ever on one day anywhere happens in? Detroit.
You hear the word passion allot at an event like this. Nearly always directed at that inanimate object on four wheels. It's natural here in the Motor City. And it's also natural for 'baby boomers' to be harkening back to the 'good ole days'. So this is just one big gathering of oldsters and their cars, right?
That's when you meet David Mardigian. He looks you in the eye and says, 'Hey, 1962 wasn't that great a year.' He says that standing in front of his 1962 classic.
Mardigian is the quintessential Detroit 'car guy'. He doesn't work in the business, but he was born and raised here. He's the president of MCM Management Group, an industrial services company. He's been very successful and owns a number of classic cars. But he also points out that he owns a couple of 2005's and 2006's too. Cars he likes, cars he values. His point is this: It's a product driven business and what has set Detroit and its OEM's back is a lack of good, well priced, exciting product. Product that people can be--the magic word in Detroit this past weekend--'passionate' about.
He didn't own his '62 'back in the day', he owns it today. He likes the way it looks, sounds, drives and it happens to be a pretty good investment. He's excited when he sees GM Chairman Rick Wagoner taking the time and opportunity to roll out the new Camero 'rag top' during Dream Cruise week.
It's supposed to be in production next year. Mardigian takes it as a sign that Detroit manufacturers are 'getting it' again. He says, 'I think the passion is back, I think they're starting to understand how important that is. If all we're going to do is hang around and worship 1962 iron, it's really not worth it.'
The Dream Cruise is about passion, not just for what was, but for what's to come.
Back on the road this week--heading to North Carolina. Hey, guess what I found in N.C.? That '63 Sport Fury I've been looking for. Hmmmmmmm. Take the checkbook or not??
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