Are Motor Shows Losing Their Allure? MHH looks at the evidence...

BMW I-Vision
The world has just said goodbye to the first of the annual major motor shows, in the German city of Frankfurt. It was itself no so much remarkable for who was there so much as for who was not. At this year’s event no fewer than eleven major car makers failed to put in an appearance for the buying public, with many eschewing the German motor show in favour of the annual Geneva equivalent just over the border in expensive Switzerland.

No Shows

 

There’s a reason for this and it is called the digital revolution. The vast costs involved in booking and servicing such events along with the expense of accommodating and feeding salivating motoring journalists has convinced at least some of the manufacturers that using the internet by way of digital influencers, YouTube, the blogosphere and in-house direct virtual contact with consumers is the New Big Thing.

 

Thus it was that attendees with enthusiasm for certain brands were destined to be disappointed. Volvo for example, rejected Frankfurt as long ago as 2014 and, slowly but surely, others have followed suit citing basically the same reasons. Infiniti, Nissan, DS, Peugeot, FIAT, Morgan, Aston Martin, Jeep, Mitsubishi have all cut back and see Geneva as the one to go for in Europe.

 

Not to worry though because fortunately the halls of Frankfurt continued to offer some interesting and varied products. Revisions of existing models, new cars and some interesting but ultimately unlikely concept vehicles made the show a worthwhile event. Here’s just a sample:

 

Honda Urban EV Concept

 

Show Off’s

 

BMW introduced the mighty X7, their rival to the all-conquering Range Rover. The jury is out on the looks of the beast but it’s all in the eye of the beholder. What do you think?

 

BMW also showcased the latest technological developments for the future of personal mobility, in which power train electrification, comprehensive digitalisation and other advances in the field of automated driving featured.

 

BMW X7

 

In addition the German company proudly displayed the concept EV, the BMW i Vision Dynamics. This is a four-door Gran Coupe study with a pure-electric drive system combining electric mobility with, say the company with the usual hyperbole, the BMW brand values of dynamism and elegance. Here it is:

 

Elsewhere Honda has confirmed that electrified technology will feature in every new car model launched in Europe. The announcement was made in the company’s conference speech at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show.

 

Of especial interest was the Urban EV concept which if pundits are to be believed, stole the show, despite its resemblance to a 1974 MK1 Volkswagen Golf! Smaller than a Jazz, it has a minimalist interior with, for now at least, a quartic steering wheel. As with other car makers, Honda plan a rapid electrical evolution in new models, with the forthcoming 2018 CR-V eschewing diesel for electricity.

 

Rolls Royce Dawn Black Badge

 

Designed with a younger demographic in mind, the Rolls Royce Dawn Black Badge features a revamped version of Rolls-Royce's 6.6L twin-turbocharged V12 engine, which produces 593bhp, a 30bhp increase over the standard Dawn. An extra 15lb/ft of torque means the Dawn Black Badge produces 620lb/ft at 1500rpm. That’s real power. With a special ‘menacing’ exhaust note, stiffer suspension to give flatter cornering at high speeds and a steering rack that has been quickened to offer more feedback the Black Badge is a car to be reckoned with; at a price.

 

So whilst motor shows are being shuffled down the promotional pack by some manufacturers they look like being around for a while yet because there is no better selling technique than showing the model in the metal.

 



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