By on March 3, 2011

The aspiring car writer need cover only one major car show to know that they can be an almost overwhelmingly intense experience, all bright lights, new suits, claustrophobia and hype. Between battling for internet, claiming real estate at press events, snagging free food and photographing the whole thing, a good car show passes over the average auto journalist like a bad dream.

Which is probably as it should be: for all the editorial monies that get spent making the car show carnival coverage happen, there’s precious little truth to be found at these modern-day Motoramas. And since we didn’t spend any of our precious budget getting to Geneva, we’re thrilled that long-time commenter sutski has graciously allowed us to republish his own impressions of the show… especially because they capture so wonderfully the exhausting, exhilarating blur of the car show floor. From the perks to the personalities, from the glitz to the girls, sutski‘s photos makes you feel like you were covering Geneva… and, if you’ve ever covered a big car show before, they might even make you a little glad you weren’t there.

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19 Comments on “See The Geneva Auto Salon Through The Eyes Of A Car Journalist...”

  • avatar
    SVX pearlie

    I don’t know who this girl is, or what she’s showing, but she’s very cute. Thanks!

    • 0 avatar

      She’s one of the Škoda women. See also g160 and g46. I’d love to be that Škoda wagon! ;-)

    • 0 avatar

      Yeah, that Skoda wagon is the shiznit, I don’t care how wide the new Alfa’s rear looks.

    • 0 avatar

      One of the amazing Skoda girls!!!

  • avatar
    H Man

    Ah, the perks of auto shows.

  • avatar

    I’ll take the Java Metallic SAAB 9-5 and Brunette please!

  • avatar

    I dunno – I’ve been at… six or seven of the things, from minor regional up to Detroit (twice), doing support for some technical stuff, and the main adjectives I can come up with are ‘boring’, ‘stultifying’, and ‘hollow’.
    There’s a bunch of cars, all of which everyone is fawning over, and all of which will be covered in slush in the parking lot in 18 months with nary a second look from anyone.
    There’s a bunch of model – sorry, product specialists – who croak out line after line of copy-and-paste marketing, and go around hooking up with one another after the show has closed.
    And there are tons, and tons, and tons of big screens and loud speakers belting out the same f***ing 30 second loops of energetic music and flashy CG video, for hour after hour after hour after excruciating hour, until you’ve seen every last pixel of every layer of every carefully crafted frame of ‘messaging’, heard every layer of the audio mix, and subsumed the narration so thoroughly that English becomes as thick and disorienting as the setup week’s incessant tropical forest of beeping fork trucks, flashing scissorlifts, and ringing iPhones.
    Exhilarating is your first kiss, black diamond skiing, or a brilliant film. Detroit, Geneva, Chicago, and New York are a bunch of careful lighting, MDF movie sets, and soon-to-be-forgotten vehicles putting dents in the steadily-outgassing buy-it-by-the-acre trade show carpet.

    • 0 avatar

      They’re also an opportunity to see friends and colleagues. Over the years I’ve gotten friendly with some of the car companies’ PR people. You see them in Detroit and Chicago every year and sooner or later you remember some names.
      But it’s a slog. Every convention center has a concrete floor, carpet or not. You’re physically sore from all the walking plus carrying a bag with press kits and swag, plus camera or video equipment.
      Still, for a car guy it’s a car show on steroids. You’re not getting the info from a “product specialist” you’re talking with Tom Peters, who headed the design of the new Camaro. You can actually touch and sit in just about every car on the show floor with a few small exceptions. You get to meet executives, engineers, designers and race car drivers. Last year at the Chicago show there was a press conference for the DeltaWing Indycar project. There were team owners like Chip Ganassi and Michael Andretti, plus a bunch of drivers like Dario Franchitti.
      So from a car guy standpoint, what’s not to like?

    • 0 avatar

      Yeah, I see your point on that, Ronnie. But those things are kind of separate from the *car show itself*. And I’ve gotten to do some of that stuff – I drove a motion platform on live TV so we could time a jump for the moment when Allen Mullaly walked by; I’ve spoken at length with a bunch of engineers and pretty high level execs; I had the guy who runs the Detroit show come up to me at 6am, shake my hand, and tell me I built the “hit of the show”; I’ve been around the show floor when you can just stroll around and check stuff out with nobody there. That part is neat.
      But I guess I’m not enough of a car guy to like the cars themselves so much. I’m interested in the engineering, but you don’t get any of that unless you talk to the engineers; god knows the booths are useless for it. I’m interested in the business and marketing end of things, and yeah, that’s there. But man, whenever I go to one of those, when I leave, I’m ready to never see another damn car again.
      Also, don’t talk to me about physically sore from swag – the flip side of the top paragraph is trying to figure out why something went wrong with a hundred grand worth of high-profile motion simulator, a few hours before Bill Ford shows up to give it a try. People keep lookin’ at ya.

    • 0 avatar

      I have the same thought when I leave the NY auto show at the Javits Center and walk to the garage where I’m parked. I look at all the dirty, dented cars parked along the way and realize that just a few years ago, THESE were the cars that everyone was oohing and aahing over in the Javits center. It can bring you back down to earth pretty fast.

    • 0 avatar

      haha I guess it all depends if you are doing it as a chore or as one of your favourite days out of the year! I love cars, women, marketing, engineering, champagne and photography, so it’s not a bad day for me particularly! :):) This was my 11th consecutive Geneva show, and I loved every minute of it!! :) I do also have experience of manning a stand next a blaring “30 second loops of energetic music and flashy CG video” though so I know how painful these events can be too! ;)
      Here are some of my previous years mash-up attempts at the Autosalon Geneve:
      2011 Part 1: uneditedHD:
      2011 Part 2: uneditedHD:

  • avatar
    healthy skeptic

    Do they come with the car?
    I couldn’t resist.

  • avatar

    Do they come with the car?

    It would probably be hard to satisfy them both at once.

    …I couldn’t resist either.

  • avatar

    Do they come with the car?
    I guess it depends on how deft a wheelman you are.

  • avatar

    Why has almost every American blog failed to notice the 2012 camaro?


  • avatar


  • avatar

    What an asstravaganza!

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