I was just interviewed for television in Hong Kong and the presenter asked me whether motor shows have changed much in recent years. The answer is definitely yes, especially as I wandered the halls of the Paris motor show this week. The glitz is still there, but you really have to look for it. The glamour is mostly gone, although some new entrants still try their best.
This week’s Paris show was more a chance for the industry to network, to discuss the challenges it is currently facing and for journalists to interview multiple executives in one space. Yes there were new models, but even some of these lacked the big trumpeting of years gone by.
BMW revealed its new 3 Series, a stalwart model for the brand, but it revealed it after the 8 Series, the Z4 and the X5. The 3 is less important than it once was, much like the show itself.
Mercedes had some big reveals in the form of the new A-Class sedan, B-Class and the A35 AMG as well as the new GLE and the stunning EQ Silver Arrow race concept. Kia showed its new e-Niro and Proceed (now fortunately without the stupid underscore and apostrophe of the first gen) and Hyundai showed its cool i30 N Fastback.
Many of the stars were not on the big stands though. It was a home show for Peugeot and it went big, certainly as far as the giant metallic model lion was concerned, but the focus was more on the superb E-Legend concept, a car that follows the retro theme we have already seen in the Nissan IDX and Honda Urban EV.
Toyota has its new Rav4 and the d, ebut of the new Corolla but without the song and dance of years gone by for the world’s biggest selling model. Porsche had its facelifted Macan and we got our first glance at the new Monza SP1 and SP2 models from Ferrari.
But in what could be seen as a sad reflection on the current state of the motor show game, some of the stars were not of the big reveal variety. Jaguar Land Rover had an immaculate Series 1 and classic XJ on the stand which attracted a great deal of interest.
Not as much as the full scale model of the Bugatti Chiron made almost entirely from Lego bricks on the Lego stand though. Perhaps it was because it was something that a team had painstakingly built brick by brick that it was a star of the show. or perhaps it was because it was so very different. Maybe the industry needs to find more “different” if motor shows are to remain relevant. – Mark Smyth