27 Sept 2013

The Internet Is Taking The Excitement Out Of Motor Shows

First of all, I just want to state that I’m not some old-fart who thinks the Google machine is a kind of fancy new toaster and Apple is a producer of delicious and highly popular fruits. I like the Internet. I think it’s very brilliant, and perhaps the most influential human invention since the hammer. The Internet has given me many, many, fantastic opportunities in life, without it I probably wouldn’t have a job, or money, or a car, or a love for ballsy drifting videos, or a Twitter account – all the essential things.

Without the Internet I wouldn’t be writing this story, I mightn’t have even become a motoring writer. I probably wouldn’t have done work experience at an excellent motoring publication who’s name starts with a ‘T’ and ends with an ‘R, either, a tall man with grey pubic hair sprouting randomly from his skull also writes for this publication, his name is Jeremy Clarkson – you might’ve heard of him.

So, yes, the Internet is very excellent. But, I often find it quite frustrating, particularly in the way it’s used by the auto industry (not the motoring media) because these days there are very few surprises in the world of cars. And surprises are fun. Surprises make things interesting. I like surprises, as I’m sure you do, too.

Lets take this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show for example – arguably the largest show of the year. It should’ve been rather exciting, right? The lead up to the show was quite good, but for me the actual show just wasn’t, even despite the fact that Audi revealed a 700hp Quattro Concept, Ferrari a new 597hp lightweight 458, Volkswagen a 296hp hot hatch, BMW a carbon fiber hybrid sports car, Mercedes a new S-Class Coupe concept, Lexus a sort of SUV that comes pre-crashed and Toyota a little Yaris hatchback containing no less than 400hp. They’re all very exciting and interesting motor vehicles, but because we’d seen them all weeks, in some cases even months, before the show had actually begun when the sheet was lifted there was no drama, no interest and a few yawns. Unless you were at the Lexus stand when that LF-NX SUV concept was unveiled - then you probably muttered some profanity.

Out of all the new production and concept cars that made their public debut at Frankfurt 2013, just one hadn’t already been leaked or officially revealed online. That car was the Audi Nanuk Concept – a sort of SUV supercar-y thing. But truth be told, it wasn’t even all that exciting because the Nanuk is essentially a nip and tucked, Audi-badged version of the Parcour concept that Italdesign Giugiaro showed at the Geneva Motor Show earlier this year. Fun fact; that Parcour concept was binned at the Goodwood Festival of Speed earlier this year - a few new body panels, some wheels and an Audi badge later and Hey Presto! A brand new car! To the uneducated at least…

So then, the Frankfurt Motor Show is an exhibition where certain manufacturer’s show stands make some entire motor shows look a bit rubbish. Yet the only real news to come from this gigantic show was that the Porsche 918 Spyder set a new Nurburgring lap record and Audi showed a not-very-new car that’ll never enter production. I find that quite worrying.

The Internet is a wonderful thing, but I feel like the motor industry would benefit from revealing important new production and concept cars in the real world rather than online. It’d make motor shows much more exciting. So, automakers, this is my message to you; don’t play all of your cards before the motor show even begins, save some news for the show.

This is a guest post written by Aiden Taylor – Editor and Community Manager at Carhoots.com.