• Riding with the Bosses

CIAS 2020: Riding with the Bosses Videos Showcase Presidents, CEO's

AutoShow Live to be broadcast again from Star booth where you can also watch videos

Norris McDonald By: Norris McDonald February 19, 2020
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“Let’s blow the snow off this car,” said Jaguar Land Rover Canada president Wolfgang Hoffmann one day last week as we left the parking lot of JLR’s Mississauga headquarters to go for a ride in the company’s award-winning, all-electric, I-PACE performance SUV.

So he mashed the accelerator – once upon a time we would have said “gas pedal,” but that was then and this is now – and whoosh!!! Suddenly, we had no more snow on the hood or roof of that car. The acceleration of an electric car is something that has to be experienced to believe and the I-PACE’s is something else. It’s like going into a dark room and flicking the switch: instant light. It’s that way with the car but the terminology is different: instant speed.

Let me hasten to add that there were no other vehicles around on that particular Thursday afternoon. And we didn’t exceed the speed limit, either. But that was because we didn’t have to: the torque of this particular EV is such that the snow was gone before we hit Mach 1 – er, I mean, 40 km/h – so there was no need to break either the sound barrier or the law.

The reason Hoffmann and I were bombing around that day is because over the previous week or 10 days, I had been out and driving about with presidents, CEOs, technical directors and VPs of just about all the other major car companies doing business in Canada. This was for a series of videos called Driving with The Bosses that I did for this year’s Canadian International AutoShow and I didn’t want JLR to be left out.

The purpose of the videos was to not only show off the automobiles each company is particularly proud of but to cast the people in charge of the companies in a personal light. For instance, after I talked about the I-PACE with Hoffmann, I asked him how he liked being the boss. Did he like being the top guy, the person who could essentially tell everybody else what to do?

I’ve known Hoffmann for a few years now and he’s a nice guy. He commutes in from Kitchener, where he lives with his wife and family. So when I asked if he liked being the boss, he said he did. “Yes,” he said, “I like being the boss.” So then I said, “When you’re at home, are you the boss there?” And he said, “No” – adding quickly that their two-and-a-half-year-old rules the roost. “She’s the boss,” he said.

These videos, if you’re curious, will be shown on a continuous loop on a big-screen TV at the Toronto Star booth on Level 300 of the downtown Metro Toronto Convention Centre’s North Building, site of this year’s AutoShow.  More than 1,000 vehicles – cars and light trucks – will be on display at what is Canada’s largest consumer show that will run daily until Sunday, Feb. 23 and those presidents and CEOs just loved talking about the ones that were made by their companies.

Driving with The Bosses can also be seen on the AutoShow’s website, autoshow.ca, and on the show’s YouTube channel. Also, they will be shown on wheels.ca and some of them will make it onto thestar.com/autos.

But the big-screen presentation at the Toronto Star booth is the best place to see them and, as mentioned, they will be running continuously except when I’m on stage conducting interviews. Yes, AutoShow Live is returning for a fourth (or is it fifth?) season in which I either interview willing participants, such as former racing driver and soon-to-be-inductee of the Order of Canada, Ron Fellows, or grill people who have taken (some would say) unpopular decisions, such as cabinet ministers.

It’s really an interesting time we’re going through, so far as transportation is concerned. The move to electric cars will require billions to be spent on infrastructure. It seems to be taking forever to complete the Eglinton Crosstown streetcar line which, if it proves to be popular (highly likely), will be overwhelmed almost from the moment they cut the ribbon to send the first car through. They’ve been talking about the Scarborough subway extension for what seems to be years now and plans seem to be approved and money earmarked and then nothing happens.

The Toronto Star launched a series two weeks ago in which it said estimates showed the population of the Toronto area (GTA) will hit 8 million by 2030, which is just 10 years from now. The Star asked: will we be ready? And I say, not a chance. With the exception of the previously mentioned Eglinton Crosstown, there is nothing being built at the moment to move people around. There are no new roads or subways being built – lots of plans, lots of talking but no action. And no, we will not all be sitting at home, working on our computers, in 2030. We have to be able to drive and ride to go here and there and things are clogged today; think about what they could be like in 10 years.

These and other questions will be asked and discussed during AutoShow Live broadcasts. They will be live-streamed and posted to the AutoShow’s YouTube Channel but if you’re at the show, please drop around to the Star booth and watch some as they happen. I plan to have fun doing them and I think you will too.

See you there.

Norris McDonald is a former Star editor who is now a freelance columnist for the paper and its various websites. He is also a consultant with the Canadian International AutoShow.

By Norris McDonald / Special to wheels.ca

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