I would really like automakers to cease, desist, and forevermore quit trying to sell me a swayback mare by suggesting it’s actually the Pegasus-winged and My Little Pony-hued reincarnation of Secretariat. Market-speak speakers ought to be hung by their Gucci belts until they learn this lesson. Segment-buster? Lifestyle? Brand frickety DNA? Look, I understand it’s show business not show pleasure, but does everything have to be hyped down to its subatomic particles? Furthermore, there’s no need to yet once again place each of your obscenely-paid executives on stage reading bad jokes off a teleprompter with all the finesse of a teenager asking a girl out on a first date. Stop. Please. I’m losing the will to live.
Yes, I’m a little cranky on the third press preview day of the Really Big Day-twaa Auto Shoe. Bumping from one press conference to another in fashionably constricting slip-ons has taken its toll on both mind and toes. Fortunately, the obsessive compulsives at Lexus have once again demonstrated they sweat the small stuff. They engaged the services of professional masseuses for the sole purpose [sic] of rubbing us fatigued media geezers the right way. As if…
Huh? Where was I? I know what you’re thinking: blubber on some other e-shoulder, you coddled, cosseted, and catered-to little creature. A couple of days glaring at gleaming new sheetmetal, chatting with Jessica Alba turntable clones and gorging on high-caloric (and free!) treats, and you’re tired? Does it hurt and have a temperature? Yes and no. Think Stendhal Syndrome combined with Invasion of the Deadline Snatchers and you know where I’m coming from.
Anyway, the Lexus stand holsters two showpieces: the LF-A supercar and the IS-F sedan, both in concept (wink-wink) form. Some of you have bitched that I haven’t said anything about the actual machinery. So here it is: no matter where it sits inside a car’s chassis, V10’s suck. And Lexus needs a tuner division like Land Rover needs a city car. (Thorazine and fast driving don’t mix.) Happy?
What in the G5 dominated world is with all the alphanumeric auto nomenclature? Even Charlie Epps would find it hard to memorize all the bechromed badges adoring the butts of Detroit’s multi-million-dollar dream puffs. There’s the MKR, Q7 V12 TDI, C-XF and the FT-HS (in any color as long as it’s BLK). Without peeking, try to tell me which automaker produced what and I’ll suggest you have too much time on your hands. While backing slowly away.
I’ve been occupying my mind with this sort of meaningless intellectual frivolity, now that the manufacturers have thrown the PR pasta against the video wall. I wasn’t alone in wandering around aimlessly seeking angle. I was playing with an interactive kiosk at the MINI display this afternoon when I suddenly realized that I was being filmed by a German guy. (Yes, we’re there: the media is eating its own.) A half hour later I was idly playing with slot cars (magnetized, so they can’t crash, obviously) at the VW display, when German guy was once again burning up lithium batteries on my behalf. We’ll be meeting at a leather bar in Munich later in the year.
Juan Pablo Montoya was here. Well, more over there, behind the ropes, far away from the dreaded press pack. He was taking a contractually-obligated bow to coincide with the debut of the stickers that have been printed to adorn his NAS-cookiecutter-CAR. Who knew that before the new season starts he’s required to change his name to John Paul II? Not me.
As I snapped a photo of race boy, I leaned over the barbed wire security net by a centimeter, whereupon an earpiece-adorned thug scowled and waved me back. As the day progressed, I got shooed out of camera range by a perky television reporter, and two guards told me not to touch the sturdy-seeming divider bar separating we throng from the Maserati enclosure or the yawning model contained therein would strip naked and dance the horizontal mambo. Maybe I shouldn’t have worn a T-shirt that says “No pictures!”
Well, it’s time to turn off the lights on another Detroit Auto Show. Before I leave, I’d like to share a couple parting thoughts. 1) The Chinese are coming. Their insanely cheap vehicles will have to be insanely cheap; five minutes later you’ll want to buy another one. 2) Toyota’s stand at this year’s show was comprised of three cars and thirteen trucks. That’s not good. 3) I’ll have the remainder of this toasted potato bread crouton with pulled pork shoulder and Gruyere cheese with braised red cabbage and spring onion; Risotto cake with haricot verts, mixed greens and dual pepper coulis; and mint chocolate and peppermint mousse towers in a doggy bag, Mr. Mercedes Waiter.