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Tesla coming to Boston auto show, 8 other brands call quits

Posted by Clifford Atiyeh  November 20, 2009 04:55 PM

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(Clifford Atiyeh/Boston.com)

The Tesla Roadster near Pigeon Point Lighthouse in Pescadero, Calif. during a road test.

Tesla Motors, which opened a Manhattan showroom in July, will have a stand at this year's New England International Auto Show as the company prepares to open a Boston dealership next year.

The company is bringing at least two Roadster models, both specified in the more powerful and luxurious Sport trim, according to Don MacNeil, sales advisor for New England. Tesla, which in July received $465 million in federal loans to build the 2011 Model S sedan, is eager to expand its customer base beyond the roughly dozen Roadster owners here in New England. Tesla's six-month wait lists have "dropped through the floor," MacNeil said, to as little as 10 weeks.

While Tesla takes the Boston stage, a surprising roster of manufacturers are opting out: Infiniti, Mercedes, Jaguar, Land Rover, and Porsche. That's in addition to Saturn, Pontiac, and Hummer, vestiges the "new" General Motors can't get rid of fast enough.

Saab, however, will be there with the first new 9-5 sedan in more than 10 years. But with struggling auto sales comes budget cuts, and many automakers, including Nissan, aren't even showing up to the Los Angeles auto show that same week.

"They've pulled out because of the enormous costs," said Barbara Pudney, a spokeswoman for Paragon Group, the show's coordinator. "Because of economic stress, there aren't concepts this year."

To fill the void in the huge space of the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, Pudney said the show will have 150 modified and tuner vehicles from private owners and various car clubs.

The show opens Tuesday, Dec. 2 and runs through Sunday, Dec. 6.

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
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Clifford Atiyeh is an automotive writer and car enthusiast . He has spent his entire life driving cars he doesn't own.
In the garage: 1995 21-speed Iron Horse, 2002 Jeep Wrangler X (by association)
Bill Griffith is a veteran Boston Globe reporter, having reviewed cars for more than 10 years and serving as assistant sports editor for 25 years. He was also the paper's sports media columnist.
In the garage: 2006 Subaru Baja
AAA's Car Doctor, John Paul John Paul is public affairs manager for AAA Southern New England, a certified mechanic, and a Globe columnist. He hosts a weekly radio show on WROL.
In the garage: Hyundai Sante Fe, Chrysler PT Cruiser convertible
Craig Fitzgerald has been writing about cars, motorcycles, and the automotive industry since 1999. He is the former editor of Hemmings Sports & Exotic Car.
In the garage: 1968 Buick Riviera, 1996 Buick Roadmaster, 1974 Honda CB450
Keith Griffin is president of the New England Motor Press Association and edits the used car section on About.com. He also writes for the Hartford Business Journal and various weekly newspapers in Connecticut.
In the garage: Mazda 5, Dodge Neon
George Kennedy is a senior writer for WheelsTV in Acton, which produces video reviews for Yahoo, MSN, and other auto websites.
In the garage: Lifted 1999 Jeep Cherokee
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