Search Cars for Sale

An Automotive Journalist Meets His Short List in St. Louis – St. Louis Auto Show

February 1, 2011


In virtually any auto show of which is a part, the display sits at the juncture of automotive dreams and fiscal reality. And few know fiscal reality quite like an automotive journalist, one whose dreams are fueled by press trips and press cars, and whose reality is steeped in freelance checks and self-employment taxes. Eventually, however, even automotive scribes need to buy a car, and since I’m standing at this juncture, and the display is immediately in front of me, we plunge ahead.

Greeting me at the booth is an attractive and professional young woman, Celeste Flummer. She is more than happy to take me through the New Car Adviser process. It couldn’t be simpler: I describe, via the keyboard, my wants, needs and budget, and the New Car Advisor dispenses a selection of automobiles best suited to my stated desires. Given Celeste’s confidence in the approach, I’m ready to nominate the New Car Adviser to Congress.

I’m fairly wide open, and don’t discriminate by brand. In short, “show me what you’ve got” tends to be my car-buying mantra. After indicating my interest in a second car for both recreation and transportation, we need to define ‘recreation’. It’s not the ‘sleeping bag in back and tent on top’ type, but rather a car that’s fun to drive while maintaining a semblance of day-to-day practicality. With Celeste’s help I start answering questions, and after but a few minutes of box-filling and booth-type chatter (my rather awkward attempt at bridging the generation gap) out comes the result; it’s five pages and seventeen automotive choices.

To spare you the details, I won’t go into all of the options. But with a strong stated preference for “comfort, control and access” the New Car Advisor suggested Audi A3 (TDI or conventional four cylinder), followed by Subaru’s WRX, VW’s GTI and Volvo’s C30. And since this report is issued right there at the show – in PRINT – I can use it as a shopping tool while viewing the cars on display.

Jasmine Major and her mother Keisha are looking for a sporty two-door as a graduation gift for 17-year old Jasmine. Jasmine got exactly what she wanted – a choice between Nissan’s Altima 2-door, Hyundai’s Genesis coupe or the Camaro V6. According to Keisha, “everything we inputted resulted in the desired choices.” To be sure, Jasmine still needs to graduate, and if they’re considering Camaro they might want to check insurance rates, but the New Car Advisor not only provided an assist, but gave them a documented validation of their needs and wants.

The process gives you, as suggests, the ability to find “the car your heart and mind can agree on.”


author photoDAVID BOLDT began his automotive career in BMW and Saab showrooms in the 1980s, and he moved to automotive journalism in 1993. David has written for a variety of regional and national publications, and prior to joining AutoTrader, he managed media relations for a Japanese OEM.

Our editors are here to make car buying easier. We’ve driven, reviewed and compared thousands of cars. We’ve bought and sold more than our fair share, too. And as part of the sprawling Cox Automotive group of companies, we have exclusive access to a range of valuable data and insights. Whether you’re looking for the best car, the best deal or the best buying advice, you can trust... Read More about Autotrader

Sign up for Autotrader newsletters

The best cars and best deals delivered to your inbox

Email Address 

Where You Can Buy

Loading dealers...

Leave a Comment

Most Popular Articles

Best New Cars for 2022

Here is our list of the best new cars for 2022 (presented in alphabetical order by manufacturer).

2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid: First Look

The 2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid jumps to the head of the hybrid class.

Best Car Deals: December 2022

This month's best new car deals include several attractive offers for qualified shoppers.

Search By Style

More Articles Like This