Officials from the North American Interfaith Auto Show said they are considering stricter standards for media credentials after repeated clashes between journalists and
industrial spies engineers at this year’s Detroit press preview.
“We have journalists who are trying to report on the vehicles,” explained NAIAS spokesmeasurer Dick Blocker, “and we have engineers taking measurements, detailed photographs and extensive notes, and the two are constantly getting each other’s way. It’s time to make a tough decision, and our decision is that the journalists have go to go.”
Gong Yee Jian-die, an employee of the Pacific Center for Automotive Studies in China, told Autoblopnik through a translator that journalists are becoming an ever-increasing problem.
“It’s upsetting,” he said, “because these ‘journalists’ get press releases ahead of time and are not prevented by their government from downloading pictures on the Internet. Me, I have just one opportunity to get all the measurements on these cars. If they don’t complete their assignment, they have other people to cover for them. If I don’t complete my assignment, my family will be sent to a re-education camp.”
Asked why he couldn’t just attend the industry preview that follows the media preview, Jian-die said, “And pay $95 instead of just pretending to be journalists so we can get into the show for free? As if!”
Blocker defended the auto show’s defense of engineers over journalists.
“We have to ask ourselves who is of more value to the auto show: A journalist reporting details to the general public, only a small percentage of whom will buy the car, or an engineer feeding vital information to car companies and suppliers, 100% of whom will build cars. The car companies are our clients, and that’s the bottom line.”
Zai Gai Fangshi, chief engineer for China’s Geely Automotive Perfunctory Happening, defended the work that engineers do at auto shows.
“These subversive journalists say, ‘Oh, he’s just some leech with a camera and a clipboard who is in my way,’” Fangshi told Autoblopnik. “But when the next XC90 has an interior like a Mercedes and drives like an Audi, you can thank that leech with the camera and the clipboard.”
Journalist Keifer Buglorwarowicz of
Motor Trend Automotive.com Goat Farmer Weekly KBB.com viewed the potential changes with equanimity.
“Frankly, we can save a lot of time and expense by staying home,” Buglerawitz told Autoblopnik. “All I have to do is live-stream the press conferences with the volume turned up to ear-splitting levels and ask a couple of interns to stand between me and the computer whenever I try to download a photo. It’s just like being at the show.”
Fortunately, Autoblopnik had a second reporter covering the press preview at this year’s North American Interdenominational Auto Show. We hesitantly present his report on the show’s highlights.
AUDI ALLROAD SHOOTING BRAKE CONCEPTAudi says this small wagon is the upcoming replacement for the TT, an announcement that the assembled journalists reacted to as if it made perfect sense. Audi has not revealed how much it paid Volvo for the C30 tooling.
We were unable to get close enough to this car to get photos or information, but from a distance it looks a lot like a throng of Chinese men with tape measures, cameras, and notepads.
CADILLAC ATS COUPEThe ATS Coupe premiered to rousing cheers and a standing ovation, until the assembled journalists realized they were looking at the Elmiraj concept. They were directed to turn their cameras towards “the anonymous-looking blue car over there.” Cadillac described the ATS Coupe’s styling as “clean and conservative,” which is design-speak for “We wanted to hurry up and get it done so we could get home in time to see the season premiere of Downton Abbey.”
CHEVROLET CORVETTE Z06Autoblopnik had arranged for an exclusive demonstration of the new Z06′s supercharged engine, but the thigh-deep puddle of drool from other journalists shorted out the car’s electrical system and it wouldn’t start. GM spokesvetter Teddy Radical said that the Z06′s on-sale date is being timed to coincide with the peak of the media frenzy surrounding the car, which means it should arrive in showrooms in the third quarter of 2027.
CHRYSLER 200The all-new 200 is based on the same Alfa-Romeo platform as the Dodge Dart, with styling that evokes Chrysler’s golden years of the 1990s. Asked about the primary differences between the new 200 and the outgoing car, a Chrysler spokesguy said, “Well, for starters, this one won’t be a complete and utter piece of shit.”
GMC CANYONBILL: Copy and paste whatever I wrote about the Chevrolet Colorado at the LA show, just swap “GMC” for “Chevrolet” and “Canyon” for “Colorado”. The knuckle-dragging cretins who read our site will never know the difference. Just be sure to remove this note before you publish the story! – Otto
HYUNDAI GENESISWe’d thought we’d already seen this car at the Los Angeles auto show, until Hyundai spokeshower Miles Horseford told us that was actually the Equus. He gave us a quick tip on how to tell them apart: “The Genesis has a narrower, more tapered grille,” he said, “and the Equus has a ridiculous name and non-existent sales.” The Krafcik impersonator who presented the car said the new
INFINITI Q50 EAU DE TOILETTEInfiniti introduced a new shade of red paint, which comes standard with the modified Q50 seen beneath it. Infiniti boss Johann Q. DeNysschnnen would not say exactly what engine was under the hood, only that “it might be a 500-plus horsepower, 600-plus pound-foot, V-type forced-induction engine, and while that may sound an awful lot like the engine from the Nissan GT-R, I’m not saying it is.” He then touched his finger to his nose and gave the audience an exaggerated wink. An Infiniti spokesperson told Autoblopnik that the car will actually be powered by the 2.5 liter V6 from the G25.
KIA GT-4 STINGERFive years after the introduction of the Hyundai Genesis Coupe, Kia hinted that they just might have a rear-drive sports car with a two-liter turbocharged engine in the works. Journalists in the audience did an impressive job of feigning surprise.
MERCEDES S600The new V12-powered Mercedes S-Class comes standard with a leather interior, four-zone climate control, and a banana republic in Central Africa. Unfortunately, our attempts to approach the S600 for a closer look were foiled by a burly man in an expensive suit with a thick Russian accent, who told us, “S600? No S600 here. I think I saw it over by Toyota stand. Move along, comrade.”
NISSAN SPORT SEDAN CONCEPTThough Nissan didn’t come right out and say it, the Sport Sedan Concept is considered by most to be a preview of styling cues for the next-generation Maxima. All those who were worried that Nissan might break with tradition and start designing attractive cars can breath a sigh of relief. Nissan has reportedly considered removing the car during public days because the gaping-mouth grille frightens the children.
PORSCHE 911 TARGAPorsche spokesperson Kimberly Calvin described the 911 Targa as “a 911 Cabriolet with a big metal bar where the sun ought to be.” Despite having castigated convertibles like the Chrysler PT Cruiser, Oldsmobile Cutlass, and Suzuki X90 for a similar design, the media gave the 911 Targa a warm reception, which leads us to believe the press drive must be taking place someplace very nice. Porsche used the 911 Targa press conference to announce their new tagline, “Porsche: Because You’ll Buy Anything That Says Porsche On It.”
SUBARU WRX STIAfter spending three months explaining to the media why the new WRX does not have gold wheels or a big wing on the trunk lid, Subaru introduced an all-new WRX STI with gold wheels and a big wing on the trunk lid.
TOYOTA FT-1 CONCEPTThis stunning sports car concept had show attendees speculating that Toyota is planning a new Supra in the not-too-distant future. “Naturally, we cannot comment on future products, or lack thereof,” Toyota spokesman Wide Hate told Autoblopnik, “but if people want to dream, let them dream. Remember, these are the same people who assumed that the big wheels on the Furia concept meant the next Corolla would be good to drive. Why spoil their illusions?”
VOLKSWAGEN BEETLE DUNE CONCEPTIn an effort to boost the Beetle’s new macho image, Volkswagen showed this concept, which it called “a Baja Bug for the 21st Century.” Voted Best In Show by the Michigan Gay Men’s Choir.
We sent our man Clifton Faghands to report on the 2014 North American International Auto Show.
I’m just back from the Detroit show, where attendance was up but the mood was subdued at best.
MERCEDES: Once again, the Germans put on a fantastic event with exquisite hors d’oeurves and strong coffee. And they kept the riff-raff out — all of the tables were occupied by journalists who had been in the business for at least twenty years.
HYUNDAI: As always, the afterparty at Slow’s BBQ was the highlight of the show for me. A full belly is just what I need to report on whatever car it was they showed… Genesomething? That said, the service was a little slow. They need to bring back that thin grey-haired guy who used to tend the bar.
GENERAL MOTORS: Rather sad, really. A lot of people were talking about the car they revealed (Canyon Z06 coupe), but I was dismayed at the press kit. I got three hundred bucks on eBay for last year’s Stingray take-home, but this thing won’t fetch ten bucks! How did such a great company fall so far, so fast?
PORSCHE: A class act. Never has a lunche left me so full or so satisfied. I’m confident that the 911 Target is going to be a strong seller.
Clifton’s report went on for another six pages, but you get the idea.
The Federal Trade Commission announced that it is keeping a close eye on this week’s North American International Auto Shrimpfest in Detroit, and that it may press charges or initiate sanctions against both auto show management and the manufacturers that display there.
“It’s a matter of false advertising and misrepresentation,” said Fed Bureaucrat, a Level IV Second Investigator 3rd Class Part B Subsection 23c Junior Grade A Minus for the FTC. “You’ve got automakers saying they are ‘premiering’ or ‘revealing’ a new vehicle, when it seems that the photos, specs and details of these vehicles have been previously distributed to any freeloading hack who had the good sense to ask for them. ‘Premiere,’ my ass.”
“It’s true that a select few journalists have seen Detroit debuts like our new Corvette Z06,” acknowledged Chevrolet PR flack Monty Hall. “But that’s a select few, and by ‘select few’ I mean all the ones who matter to us and none of the ones who gave us all that ‘we’re-not-going-to-honor-embargoes-unless-it-suits-us’ bullshit. I guarantee that out of the thousands of journalists and pseudo-journalists here at the Detroit show press days, there will be at least a half-dozen who have not seen the new Z06. You can ask them yourselves. You’ll find them selling the press kits on eBay the day after the show.”
Bureaucrat said the FTC is also considering secondary action against automakers for presenting so-called “concept cars” that are just production models with shaved-off door handles and cameras in place of the side-view mirrors.
“Come fucking on,” he said.
Asked if he thought Government intervention is needed, Chevrolet’s Hall told Autoblopnik, “Absolutely not. The Government should never get involved in the running of the auto business, except for minor matters like becoming a part owner in order to keep an ailing company from going under.”
Autoblopnik’s sometimes correspondent Clifton Faghands weighed in on the issue, saying, “It’s not like this is some big secret. The car companies have always given us embargoed information so we can write our stories in the office before we even leave for the show. That way we can concentrate on important matters like finding out who has the best lunch buffet, where the best parties are happening, and who is giving C-listers free rides to Geneva. That’s the real reason to go to shows like Detroit: to find out what they won’t tell you before the press preview.”
There was much cursing in foreign-sounding languages at today’s Los Angeles Auto Show after formerly-British automaker MINI realized they had revealed the wrong car to the press.
“Our plan was to introduce the all-new third-generation MINI Cooper to the assembled journalists,” said MINI mini-spokesperson Nathalie Bathhouse, “but it appears that the car we put on stage was actually the second-generation model. Or maybe the first-gen. To be honest, we have a little trouble telling them apart ourselves.”
Bathhouse said the mistake was discovered shortly after the reveal, when a blogger no one had ever heard of asked why the new MINI’s turbocharged three-cylinder engine looked so much like a supercharged four-cylinder.
A search immediately ensued to find the third-generation MINI that was supposed to be revealed at the show. After several frantic phone calls, MINI staffers discovered that it was in the possession of by Gladys Carpfarter, a 67-year-old retired teacher from Pasadena, California. Bathhouse said the mix-up apparently occurred after one of the show cars was sent to the dealership for a preview last week.
“I went to pick up my car from the MINI dealership after having the oil changed,” Ms. Carpfarter told Autoblopnik. “I thought it was quite a bit cleaner than usual, but I never even guessed I had the wrong car until I opened the glovebox and discovered my Koupon Keeper was missing, along with my Glock G19.”
An attempt was made to return the show car to Mrs. Carpfarter, but a check of the VIN revealed that the vehicle from the L.A. show was actually a 2008 MINI Cooper S belonging to Bill Keeldover, a demolition accounting student from Azusa. Keeldover was driving a 2005 Cooper belonging to Fannie Slapper, a licensed poet from Bellflower, who turned out to be in possession of a 2010 Cooper S owned by William Schitzmore, an unemployed employment counselor from North Hollywood, who was driving Mrs. Carpfarter’s first-generation Cooper.
None of the affected owners realized they had someone else’s MINI.
“Obviously, we’re very embarrassed and want to be sure this doesn’t happen again,” said MINI spokesmini Bathhouse. “We’re very fortunate that of the hundreds of journalists who witnessed the unveiling, not a single one of them realized we were showing them the wrong car.”
Immediately after revealing the 2014 Jeep Cherokee at this week’s New York Auto Show, Chrysler’s public relations staff set about assuring the media that the new compact SUV isn’t as ugly as they think it is.
“We realize that at first glance, the Jeep Cherokee does appear rather ugly,” said Todd Gayer, head of Jeep communications. “But the truth is that it really isn’t as ugly as most people think it is. Is the new Cherokee an attractive vehicle? No, not by a country mile. Is it ugly? Of course it is. Very ugly. Uglier than a monkey’s armpit. Uglier than a sack of assholes. But is it as ugly everyone thinks it is? No, it most certainly is not.”
Members of the automotive media attending the New York show expressed immediate relief upon Chrysler’s assurances that the new Cherokee is not as ugly as they think it is.
“I thought the thing was fucking hideous,” said Jonny Liebersteinowitzenbaumowitz of Moat Trend magazine. “It looks like something you’d see on the cover of Weekly World News under the headline ‘Bat Boy Alive and Well in New Jersey!’ That’s why it felt like a tremendous weight had been taken off my shoulders when Chrysler told me personally that the Cherokee is not as ugly as I think it is.”
“I’ll admit, my first reaction was not all that positive,” said Jablopnik correspondent Matt Hadtapee, who in his article referred to the new Cherokee as “a bit like a Nissan Juke” and “the most horrifying thing I have seen since the time I walked in on my grandparents having sex.”
“I wasn’t swayed by Chrysler’s repeated insistance that the Cherokee is ‘more than its exterior styling,’ and Ralph Gilles’ comment that the Cherokee is ‘very contemporary’ just didn’t ring true. That’s why I’m so glad that Chrysler has assured my colleagues and I that the new Cherokee isn’t nearly as ugly as we all think it is. How can you argue with that?”
Jeep’s Gayer tells Autoblopnik that the next step is to assure the public that the Cherokee is not as ugly as they think it is, which will be accomplished with an ad campaign entitled “Cherokee 2014: It’s Not As Ugly As You Think It Is.”
“The ad blitz will include television, radio, newspapers and popular web sites,” explained Jeep marketing chief Jim “No Not That Jim Morrison” Morrison, “and will feature real-live Chrysler employees explaining, in plain language that the average American can understand, that the 2014 Jeep Cherokee is not as ugly as they think it is.”
“We felt we needed to build a relationship with the media and our customers based on honesty,” Gayer continued. “We’re not going to pretend the Cherokee isn’t the ugliest vehicle since the Aztek, because it is. We won’t even deny that Don Doofamante tried to snap an early photo of it and turned to stone. That’s the first time we’ve needed a hand truck to kick him out of an auto show. But the honest truth is that the 2014 Jeep Cherokee isn’t as ugly as you think it is.”
“Besides,” he added, “Wait until you see the new Dodge van. That thing really is as ugly as you think it is.”
Volvo plans to take a second attempt at unveiling the facelifted S60, XC60 and XC70 in New York after an unveiling at the Geneva show failed to garner any attention.
“I’m not sure why the media didn’t realize the cars were any different,” said Volvo spokeschanger Jean O. Effluent. “These are the most extensive and radical changes we’ve made to our cars in four years.” All three of the cars have been unchanged since 2009, and Effluent himself has not changed since 1992.
“The S60 is the most extensive and radically changed member of the Volvo family,” explained Effluent. “The headlights are a slightly different shape, and one of the trim pieces near the fog lights that used to be body color is now chrome. Or maybe it used to be chrome and now it’s body color. I’ll have to check on that, but my point is that it’s different. Radically different. And extensive.”
Effluent went on to explain the changes to the crossovers, which, he says, include “taking the shiny metal bit from under the XC70′s grille and putting it on the XC60, and taking the XC60′s fog light trim and putting it on the XC70. We’ve also de-chromed the front end of the XC60. That wasn’t planned, all the chrome bits actually fell off when we were shipping the car to Geneva, but we liked the way it looked so we left it that way.”
Inside, all three cars received what Effluent described as “extensive and radical” changes. “I think we did something with the trim… painted it another color or something. And the steering wheel might be a little different. I mean radically different. Sorry… you know, after you’ve been doing this as long as I have, the cars all start to look alike, really.”
Volvo introduced an all-new V40 in Geneva, a radical hatchback with eye-catching styling and a futuristic interior with a center-mounted gauge cluster, but Effluent says that car will not be sold in the US.
“No question, the new V40 is Volvo’s best car and the US is our biggest market,” he explained, “but the Swedes are pissed at us because we keep mixing them up with the Swiss. They really know how to hold a grudge, those guys. Neutral, my ass.”
Volvo will also re-introduce several new technologies at the New York Show, including the Permanent High Beam system, which leaves the high beams on all the time because, as Effluent explains, “Volvo drivers are idiots who do that sort of thing all the time.” The company will also take the wraps off the World Safety System, which uses a broadband Internet connection to scan the headlines, then decides that the world is simply too dangerous to go wandering around and disables the engine.
Organizers of the Detroit Auto Show said the show will move to Florida for 2014.
“The Detroit Auto Show is now in its 105th year,” said show spokesman Larry Naias, “and the cold and snow are really getting to be a problem. Given the show’s advanced age, moving it to a warmer environment is the only sensible decision. If the Detroit Auto Show were to slip on the ice and break its hip, it could be out of commission for a while, and the Chicago Auto Show is just waiting for an opportunity to step in and take over. We can’t risk that happening.”
Asked if moving the show away from the automotive manufacturing capital of the United States was a wise idea, Naias said he wasn’t concerned.
“Sure, the show attracts a lot of Detroit residents,” he said, “but it’s not like anyone from Michigan is going to complain about going to Florida in the middle of January.”
Naias said the show’s organizers considered moving the show to Arizona, where the costs would be significantly lower, but ruled out the desert state “because it’s in the middle of fucking nowhere and the people are batshit insane.”
“Moving to Florida will make it easier for the Detroit Auto Show to host attendees in January,” he explained, “and it can spend the rest of the year relaxing and playing golf.”
© Autoblopnik — Photo by Paul Sancya/Associated Press, not exactly used with permission
As the 2013 Detroit Auto Show comes to a close, it appears that the show may finally be having the desired effect of convincing Detroit residents to buy foreign cars.
“I’ve owned Chevrolets all my life,” Chase Takashowa, a life-long Detroit resident, told Autoblopnik. “So did my daddy, and so did my daddy’s daddy. Never liked them little Jap shitboxes, not one bit. But after seeing Nissan’s new display stand at the Detroit Auto Show, I’m thinking maybe I’ve been wrong. That new Versa Note is a hell of a car.”
By some estimates*, upwards of 92% of Michigan residents buy American cars, and many** have questioned whether the high cost of a stand at the Detroit show is a worthwhile investment for foreign automakers.
* Ours ** Us and some other people
“Detroit is a tough market to crack,” said Toyota spokescracker Ming-Joe Tetherton. “We’ve been showing cars here for decades, spending millions of dollars and to little effect. But I think 2013 is the year we will finally make some inroads.”
Gil Chesterton, an assembly-line worker at Ford’s Wayne Stamping plant, agrees. “I used to think the Nips were here just to steal our jobs, buy up our real estate, and take over our country,” he said. “But the fact that Toyota chose to reveal the Corolla Furia here rather than in Liberalifornia, well, that makes me wonder if perhaps I’ve judged those little yellow motherfuckers too harshly.”
Jehanne Austen of Flint agrees that the Detroit show could be the key to the hearts and minds of Michiganders.
“My family was devastated by the so-called ‘Japanese Invasion,’” she said. “My father lost his job when GM closed the Buick City plant. He committed suicide by beating himself to death with his own shoe. My mother and my youngest brother had to work as prostitutes to feed our family. After what they did to us, I swore I’d never even sit in a Japanese car as long as I lived. But this year’s Detroit show changed my mind. Did you see that new Honda Urban SUV concept? I want one of those!”
Acura has confirmed that the two NSX concept vehicles shown at the 2012 and 2013 Detroit auto shows are just the beginning of an excruciating number of show car unveilings that we will be forced to sit through before they finally show the production version.
“Think of it as a sort of striptease,” said Acura spokesteaser Parsley Thyme, “Only the stripper is a poor woman who can’t afford a proper winter coat, so she has to wear a whole lot of layers. We’ve seen her hat and windbreaker come off, but she still has to take off her scarf, her zip-up sweatshirt, her pull-over sweatshirt, the sweater her Aunt Bernie knitted for her for Christmas in 1997, a button-down blouse, a polo shirt, her ex-boyfriend’s Metallica T with the sleeves cut off, a halter top, one more t-shirt, a sports bra and an underwire bra before we finally get to see her gazongas.”
Acura unveiled the first NSX Concept, which lacked an interior, at the 2012 Detroit show. This year’s concept car had a finished interior and opening doors, and Thyme says the next NSX Concept, most likely to be shown at the New York Auto Show this spring, will have an opening hood with a dummy engine, which will be replaced with a real engine in the NSX Concept to be shown at the 2014 Detroit show.
“After that, we’ll show an NSX concept with updated front-end styling, then another one with updated rear-end styling, and maybe a couple with new rooflines and steering wheels. We thought of doing one shaped like a CR-V just to see if people were paying attention, but we decided to just futz with the headlights and the side glass instead.”
Asked about the cost of producing multiple concepts, Thyme said, “Oh, it’s unbelievable. Each concept costs an average of $750,000 to produce, plus another hundred grand to present it at the auto show. We figure this endless line of concepts will probably add $20,000 to the price of each NSX we sell, but how the hell else are we going to maintain the public’s interest in a super-light mid-engine sports coupe with a turbo V6, twin-clutch transmission, and a three-motor hybrid powertrain with the world’s first torque-vectoring electric drive?”
Acura initially planned to bring the NSX to market in 2015, but now says it may delay the launch in order to produce more concept cars.