Tag: auto shows

By on June 11, 2017

ces-asia hyundai, Image: CES Asia

Automakers continue to snub mainstream automotive trade shows for CES, which is swiftly becoming one. Compared to Las Vegas’ Consumer Electronics Show, Asia’s nascent tech expo is exceptionally small but that hasn’t prevented automakers from taking an interest. Only in its third year, CES Asia hosted General Motors, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Honda, Hyundai, and Volvo.

In fact, several of the event’s large rooms housed nothing but products stemming from automotive manufacturers — underlining how automakers need to be perceived in 2017. China’s massive population is churning out heaps of new drivers everyday, making it the primary growth market for many global brands. Combine that with the country’s aggressive push into green cars — with a public that is perpetually hungry for tech-laden vehicles — and CES Asia attendance was compulsory for many. (Read More…)

By on April 17, 2017

Toyota Test Drive Track at NYIAS, Image: Twitter by New York International Auto Show

Walking through Brooklyn, your humble author was confronted by a sign on a building that said, “We stay awesome 24/7, but we are only available in person,” followed by the company’s business hours. There are two ways to view that sort of arrant idiocy. The first is to shrug one’s shoulders and just chalk it up to the sort of cutesy, infantile, Millennial-focused marketing that has turned Brooklyn from a place where my mother was actually shot at in 1970 merely for wearing her Women’s Army Corps — but Mommy’s neither one of those, I’ve known her all these years! — Class A officer’s uniform to a sort of supervised playground for losers whose sheltered ineptitude has combined with the realities of a flaccid job market to suspend them in kindergarten gaffa until the parents run out of home equity with which to sustain them.

(That’s quite a sentence there, ain’t it? You won’t get combinations of Cheap Trick and Kate Bush jokes in Motor Trend, trust me.)

Alternately, you can be a bit more perceptive and/or distrustful about the whole matter. You might take it as a sign of a corporate culture where employees are, in fact, expected to “stay awesome 24/7,” where everybody is judged on how infrequently they have an incorrect thought, even when they are off work. We’re rapidly approaching a day where we are never truly away from our jobs. You can be fired from your job for simply saying something that people don’t like during your private time; several years ago I had a public Facebook argument with two car-magazine writers that resulted in one of them calling my day job and making a “special request” to have me fired. (He was told to get stuffed, by the way.)

In other words, we now live in a world where corporations expect to have the kind of control over reality that was once just the nightmare imagination of George Orwell. Everything is now “curated,” which is a nice way of saying controlled. And that, in a nutshell, is why most of the “New York auto show” did not actually happen at the New York Auto Show.

(Read More…)

By on April 6, 2017

IAA trade show

Frankfurt is the real deal when it comes to trade events. Germany’s International Motor Show is the oldest and, frequently, the largest exhibition of new vehicles and automotive engineering on the planet. However, some important automakers are deciding not to bother with it this year.

The event’s organizer, Germany’s VDA industry association, has confirmed that several automakers have cancelled on the Internationale Automobil-Ausstellung in September 2017. While there will still be over 50 individual brands from Europe, Asia, and the United States, a few of the heavier hitters are following the trend of taking their marketing money off the floor and rerouting it back into digital advertising.  (Read More…)

By on March 17, 2017

20170316_131301

There’s something ironic about it, and I don’t mean in the way Alanis Morissette uses the term: The media days at the major auto shows offer unmatched access to the vast majority of vehicles on sale in the United States today. The stuff that gets locked up and put behind barriers once the shows open to the public is usually open and available for your inspection.

Want to try out the back seat in a Mulsanne, or rub your dirty fingers all over the steering wheel of your favorite supercar? It’s all possible — and usually without the lines, disruption, and drama that you’d expect once the average Joes get in the door. Not even the $500-a-head charity previews will get you the unfettered touch time with your favorite high-end automobile that comes as standard equipment with a zero-buck press pass.

Yet if you are “working” a show, that means spending nine hours a day literally running between press conferences, frantically uploading photos or writing summaries, and staying in motion until you’re dead on your feet. Then it’s time to go to a series of all-you-can-drink parties where you’ll be surrounded all night by the kind of people who whine about Republicans then wave nonchalantly for a Rolls-Royce to take them to a $699 per night hotel. Wake up the next morning, rinse and repeat.

In other words, even though the media days at the major shows are a car enthusiast’s dream, the circumstances of auto-journo employment tend to interfere with that dream. Yesterday, I tried taking an antidote to that poisonous mindset, in the form of a no-expenses-paid trip to the Columbus, Ohio auto show.

(Read More…)

By on January 10, 2017

2018 LS500 at NAIAS

Ask anyone who was there, and attendees of this year’s North American International Auto Show will likely describe an event lacking luster. Depleted of energy. Devoid of the excitement that normally comes from splashy, much-anticipated launches.

Could it be that the Consumer Electronics Show held a week earlier in sunny Las Vegas sapped some of the life out of Detroit? Consider this: the top-selling midsize car in the U.S. — the Toyota Camry — suffered through an underwhelming unveiling that should have had people talking. At least, more than the number who did.

What were radio news segments talking about on the way to this year’s show? Highlights of the just-wrapped-up CES. Oh, that Chrysler Portal. My, what a car that Faraday Future FF 91 is. A taste of the future, the tech geeks gushed. So, where does this leave traditional auto shows? What becomes of Detroit, New York, Los Angeles, or Chicago? What about Geneva? Paris? (Read More…)

By on November 30, 2015

Scion C-HR Concept (54 of 74)

I am writing to you today from Los Angeles, California, which is currently 65 degrees Fahrenheit (also known as 1.4 million degrees Celsius) and home to approximately 800 Mercedes G-Wagens per square mile (6.7 million G-Wagens per square kilometer).

I have been driving around Los Angeles for about a day and a half now, and I have very much appreciated all the unique cars I’ve seen. For example, I have already seen: The new Scion iM. The new Smart car. An early 2000s Toyota RAV4 EV. Bright red and bright green examples of Porsche Cayenne GTS. And the new Toyota Prius, which I personally like, even though the vast majority of car enthusiasts believe it to be Satan in hybrid hatchback form.

But the main automotive event going on right now in Los Angeles is not on the streets. It’s inside, at the Notorious B.I.G. Convention Center, where the Los Angeles Auto Show is currently underway. I watched this auto show with great interest, because many exciting new cars were revealed, and then quickly forgotten about moments later when the next exciting new car was revealed.

And so, today, I ask the question that is on the mind of virtually everyone, from automotive PR directors to automotive PR directors’ assistants: Why the hell are we still doing the whole auto show thing?

(Read More…)

By on November 18, 2013

Fiat Strada Adventure

If you were hoping to celebrate an early Christmas in Milan with Signore Marchionne next year, you’re out of luck: Fiat has declined an invitation to show at the 2014 Milano Auto Show in light of the weakened local market.

(Read More…)

By on March 31, 2012

Among journalists, the New York Auto Show is consistently a favorite on “the circuit”. Is it the interesting product size of the Javits Center? Of course not. It’s the chance to have an OEM fly you out to New York, put you up at a luxury hotel, wine you, and dine you. Unless you’re TTAC, in which case your base of operations is the Super 8 Motel in Bergen County, New Jersey.

(Read More…)

By on November 27, 2011

No one cares, at least not among the automotive press, as to what happens at the  (Phoenix) “Arizona International Auto Show” held every year over Thanksgiving weekend. There are no world or US product launches, no concept cars on display, and only a few attractive booth babes. Just a bunch of production (or almost ready to launch) vehicles for the masses to touch, feel and some even to drive (on the road) or experience (like Jeeps on an indoor obstacle course) sprinkled with a few exotics (roped off of course) to ogle over.

But TTAC cares. Why? Because the world of automotive retailing depends on the masses to buy cars, lots of them. The folks who go to smaller market car shows don’t go to see the whimsical fancies of vehicle designers (cause there aren’t any), they go to check out real cars that they might buy. Watching and listening to these attendees can tell those of us that care where the winds of favor will blow. What’s hot and what’s not.

(Read More…)

By on May 9, 2010

Automotive marketing – marketing in general, really – fascinates me. I have a business degree with a focus on marketing and spent many years studying the commercial machine of capitalism, along with the psychology behind getting you to buy. The whole thing is extremely thought-provoking (such as Mike Rowe) and often more than a little spooky. Such as a penis with warts … (Read More…)

By on April 25, 2010

Thank you so much for the warm welcome last week! I appreciate all your comments and encouragement and look forward to sharing more about auto show life with you.

A comment on my last column caught my eye. The gist of it was why bother with “booth babes” or professional presenters at all? Why not just have sales people or the actual engineers at the shows? It is a question that has been asked of me multiple times in different forums, so I’d like to address it in greater detail here. (Read More…)

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