If ever you have been fascinated by the constellations, then Chile should top your must-see list. With near-perfect atmospheric conditions– cool, dry air– for optical clarity, the town of La Serena is perfectly positioned for a drive up into the foothills of the Andes, literally above the clouds. The roadways that lead to Chile’s many high-powered telescopic installations are known as La Ruta de las Estrellas (the Route to the Stars). And by no stroke of luck, this is exactly where we were headed to discover Hyundai’s new Tucson!
Arrival in La Serena and
the unveiling of the
You can take many different routes to Chile– through Miami, through Panama or through Venezuela. From Trinidad and Tobago, it’s about a day and a half of flying and transit. Most major airlines take you to the capital city of Santiago and then a short local flight north brings you to La Serena. From there you could even go to Easter Island to see the famous Moai. On this particular trip, I was advised to pack warm clothing since the southern hemisphere experiences winter in July.
A short taxi trip and I was at the lobby of the Hotel De La Bahía, a casino resort hotel in La Serena. There, the concierge desk manager, Señor Ramón, gave me a quick tour and managed the check-in process.
Luckily for me, I was a day early and was able to do some exploring. Apparently, I had skipped past the welcome wagon at the airport, having taken a taxi, but thankfully, Mario of Hyundai USA and events manager Taina ensured that I was found, to the relief of the folks at home.
Since time was on my side, I visited the Spa and used the complimentary heated pool, then explored a bit and discovered that the view of the circular building’s lower rooftop resembled the Millennium Falcon of Star Wars fame– perhaps an unintended, but welcome find (to me at least), especially in a town geared up for astro-tourism.
The next day, I walked out to the front entrance as journalists poured in for check-in and registration to see a 2016 Tucson out front, under a large black cover.
Two more vehicles were nestled in the central atrium and from what I could see, they were noticeably larger than the previous model.
After some lunch at one of the hotel restaurants, we were all invited to witness the unveiling, which was introduced with a creative ballet.
When the covers were finally removed by the two statuesque Hyundai models and the smoke screen had cleared, everyone did a collective gasp as the bold new shapes emerged under the strategically placed lights.
After the photo and video session, the group was led to the auditorium for the Hyundai presentations, which were made on three large LED screens that combined to make one cinema-size show.
This was followed by some Q&A, a few informal one-on-one discussions and some light refreshment. Here we were able to ask questions about the vehicle and the manufacturer, and share information on our markets. Naturally, I took the opportunity to mention T&T’s current tax breaks (so far, until 2018) on CNG-powered vehicles, and the fact that dual-fuel vehicles are able to qualify. Meanwhile, the events team was well prepared with interpreters on duty throughout the process, especially as most of the Korean delegates also spoke English. As with the other major Korean automotive brand, the representatives from Hyundai were very approachable and willing to listen and discuss– a trait that a few other brands would do well to adopt.
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