Is the Paris Motor Show dead?


The Paris Motor Show: so sad. Cut down like that, in its prime. The fat lady: presently warming up, tweaking those pipes, in the wings…


Paris Motor Show 2018 was like when the doctor and the rabbi sit you down, with good news and bad news. The good news: They have football in heaven. The bad news: You’re kicking off next Tuesday.

That’s kinda how it was. Fewer brands in attendance. More infinitely PR-ed senior executives with the dreaded spin-doctorial hand up the back.

(If you know what I mean…)

Big splash reveals endlessly diluted by online leaks. Less ‘holy shit, Batman’ and more ‘yeah, knew it; ran the pix a few weeks back’. Nothing to see here, apparently.

Mike Stevens, writing for CarAdvice, said:

“The show seemed… a shadow of its former self.”

Love those pregnant pauses. Barack Obama absolutely nailed that. He could shut up for hours, mid-sentence, and still, you’d hang. Miraculously, he also spoke in complete sentences, unlike the presidents who book-ended him. Just saying.

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Trent Nikolic, also writing for CarAdvice, said the show:

“...had the feel of a show on its second last, or indeed last, rotation. A no-show by some of the biggest brands globally, and a flat feel to the event added up to illustrate why motor shows have been dying a slow death globally.”

There appears to have been an outbreak of sincerity - actually that’s not quite correct - it appears to be an outbreak of comment not directly aimed at appeasing some carmaker - at CarAdvice.

A new strain. Quite contagious: Mike Costello another CarAdvice correspondent, caught the bug, apparently:

Motor shows aren't what they once were. The thrill of a new reveal has been eclipsed by online leaks or deliberate early media releases, once-available execs are squirrelled away or media-managed into oblivion, and buzzwords like "mobility" carry the day.

“A number of brands had meagre presences with no technical premieres or global news (Audi, for example), and a heap just didn't show up at all. Fiat Chrysler (including Alfa Romeo and Jeep), Ford, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Volkswagen and Volvo all saved their money, despite all having big developments to talk about.

Audi was probably all about the recent boning at the top, I’d suggest.

No Bentley, no Aston Martin, no Lamborghini. I mean, Jesus - Aston Martin just floated on the London stock exchange. But sunk without a trace in Paris. They want to grow sales aggressively, target more chicks. Paris: Not part of that picture.

Mr Costello went on:

“Even hometown hero Renault's stand was sparsely populated and devoid of anything particularly interesting. That's a bad sign.”

Quite - although Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi are now hopelessly conjoined, of course. Perhaps it’s that.

I’d suggest that ‘great city/crap show’ is actually the biggest automotive news coming out of Paris.

Pretty sad, though. Journos get flown there, of course. It’s a job. Not a bad one. You don’t stay in a rat’s nest, or fly rat class, but you do eat rather a lot of cheese.

But imagine if you had paid your own money to go. Would you be thrilled?

There are no motor shows in Australia any more - haven’t been for years. It’s a real pity, too - because there’s nothing I’d enjoy more than writing my blood type on the inside of my Kevlar helmet and fitting the ceramic plates (front and rear) to my trusty flak vest for another media day with my good friends in the bitchiest industry on earth.

Brett Berk, writing for AutoBlog, also pointed out the fact that the Paris show had e-tron in its pantaloons this year.

He attributed part of the downward spiral into Parisienne poop to the fact that carmakers could turn to lifestyle, tech and other events more cost-effectively to plug their wares.

And of course leverage celebrities and social media.

There’s also the small point that lifestyle, tech and other reviewers are more likely to gush, when it comes to cars. And celebrities. So it seems, sadly, that darkness is descending upon a favourite old friend, in the city of lights.

What do you think about the big motor shows fading to black - is it something you’ll miss? Let me know.


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