Throughout the 1990s, the SUV craze took hold on the American motoring scene. It began with the perception that if you civilized something that resembled a Jeep, you could make a mint for families who were bored of minivans. After seeing Jeep secure their future through the 1984 Cherokee, every auto manufacturer felt compelled to make one.
At the top of the automotive heap, it ended with a 2,715 unit advantage. In political terms – someone would probably want to call a recount.
The luxury car market in the USA saw some extraordinary changes inside finance offices at their respective dealerships. Since 2000, Lexus was the top selling luxury automobile brand in the USA. A double whammy of the fallout from the corporate-wide recalls and natural disasters affecting Japan and key parts of Asia toppled the once mighty luxury arm of Toyota. In 2007, Lexus sold over 329,000 units – a record number of deliveries recorded by a luxury brand since 1990.
However, there were two luxury brands at the top of the heap: BMW and Mercedes-Benz. Both brands took advantage of the issues over at Lexus by wooing luxury car buyers with a diverse range of products and an air of confidence in everything from pre-sales engagement to post sales support.
Let's answer this question: "Is Santa Claus real?"
If this older overweight, bearded, jolly and somehow magical gentleman is indeed real, then explain how every mall across the universe has to dress up like him? What kind of reality are we selling here?
If you're child, my apologies if I've blown the cover of that mythical person who lives somewhere past the Arctic Circle.
Yet, the marketing folks love to portray the mythology of Santa (Saint Nicholas, from what I gather is his name…rather, Kris Kringle…or, something else) and the fact that we give gifts like the Magi did upon the birth of the baby Jesus. Lexus places a big red bow to put upon every gift of a car. Love the spots or not, it's a tradition of theirs that speaks volumes about how they perceive their products during this time of year. Mercedes-Benz this year went with a CGI-coded garage depicting the most expensive garage any Christmastime icon should have – "reindeer" included.
I'll admit that the Mercedes-Benz Santa spot was intriguing. After all, the mythical Santa could afford to own such a fleet.
Next year will mark ten years since I covered my first auto show. No, seriously…
It is a momentous occasion since working press at an auto show has evolved from covering what's new on the scene as a place
Yet, sometime within the last month or so, someone on Twitter called press days at an auto show as sort of a "circle jerk." I get his frustration, as covering the industry certainly has changed over time. Traditional media has been threatened by the likes of myself…and we're being threatened by outlets that can distill the news even quicker.
Still, there is room at the table for all of us – and we're networking with each other all the time. In fact, the industry and the press are interconnected in ways unimaginable when it was strictly the traditional media covering the industry.
In retort to that Tweet that called auto show press days a "circle jerk," I still believe that we need a day to meet with our industry counterparts, enjoy the excitement of vehicle launches and provide varying perspectives on the industry back to you – the readership.
Since the first major USA show is coming up at the Los Angeles Convention Center; this actually calls for a Five Faves post! This posting revolves a single question: What five vehicles made my auto show press coverage experience worth the effort?
That would mean logging back top the 2002 Chicago Auto Show – the one I covered with Midwest Ursine/Tillery Publications along with current Windy City Banner publisher Tom Wray.
I did come up with five vehicles over the past ten years. Here they are…