This year we attended the Press Day at the Toronto Auto Show-CIAS.
As usual the organizers go to great lengths to make press day an easy, and enjoyable experience.
It starts at around 7:30 AM, with breakfast sponsored by Black Book who made it a point to make sure everyone knew they were paying for breakfast...while the breakfast was SRO (standing room only).
Then AJAC presents the car (Mazda 6) and truck (Cherokee) of the year, the Mazda 6 was perhaps a surprise compared to the Cherokee. It was great to see Justin Prtichard present the car, and Gary Grant present the truck.
One manufacturer is selected to open the show and hold their press conference (a few years ago Ford did a phenomenal opening and presentation). This year FCA (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles) did the opening with Sergio Marchionne who shrewdly used the opening of the show to further the cause of receiving government money to expand production in Canada. A brilliant, astute move on the part of FCA.
Press day is a great opportunity to reconnect with a myriad of folks that we know, and often have not seen in a few months or even longer.
Its also a time for last minute tweaking of the displays. A myriad of handlers and PR folks rushing around putting final touches for their respective press presentations. Its a busy time for many folks who are all focused on their specific agendas.
Lunch was sponsored by CAA who was gracious to hand out CAA mints.
The press conferences tend to follow the same script, and use the same boiler plate language adjusted for each manufacturer.
In a nutshell:
Everyone had a great year in 2013 (no kidding).
Everyone has a segment leading model, version, or other.
Everyone takes the cover off of a new something or other.
There was more large scale media covering the press conferences, launches, which is encouraging in one respect. Although in an age of social media it seems that most manufacturers are not paying adequate attention to "influencers" and niche media which is more enduring.
The part time bloggers are by now yesterday's news.
The various levels of knowledge from the pundits is fascinating to behold.
Product remains over 50% of the business, and every manufacturer makes an effort to present their product in the best light, and emphasise new offerings. Its always interesting to see all forms of shiny metal, and all form of presentations.
From our perspective its always inspiring to see the various models that we have experienced.
At a time when the internet rules, many manufacturers are a at least one step behind compelling presentations, and displays. In an attempt to be all things to all people.
When reviving a shaker scoop becomes a major product offensive, perhaps the time has come to shift away from muscle cars. Its nostalgic to see Chrysler featured in Muscle Car Alley, and for a moment remember Richard Petty in the electric blue cars, cowboy boots, handkerchief in the mouth.
Today's performance is dramatically better and faster, it would be more productive to see 2015 performance in one area, than 2 generation old muscle...just a thought.
Fascinating to observe the layer of additional attitude and posturing from the folks in the basement manning the various exotic stands.
Yes...walking a couple of times between the North and South building is a great way to stay in shape.
Grasped our attention:
1- Great to see Volvo use more floor space which hopefully converts to sales.
2- The aluminum F150
3- The BMW i3
4- The Nissan Micra at $9,998
5- Hyundai's inexorable upscale march with the Genesis and Equus
6- Maserati Ghibli and the fellow we spoke to was cool.
7- The Mercedes GLA and new C Class
8- Porsche is back after a lengthy absence...and the Macan
Yes...shiny metal is such a big part of the business that it remains enduring and captivating. Observing the metal, and the various levels of folks around the metal remains a multi level lerning experience.