The best day to go to an auto show is the last. While it's all about the facade, it's fun to see it come down. The spokesmodels talk about their feet hurting. Some booths are out of brochures. No one is as eager to sign you up for a test drive.
I had a good time as it opened, but they had to turn on the displays. The net effect is one of exhaustion. As I left the show, I had the presence of mind to take the above picture, but I lacked the awareness to buy something. I had cash with me, and I was hungry. Although I haven't heard about it before, it certainly looks worth trying. Watch for it when you're in Los Angeles.
The worst display was put on by Ford. Blue is normally a cool, calming color. At Ford, you get neon until you vomit. There was a great wall of blue around everything. The music made it worse. It was loud and annoying, with no explanation of who it was or when it was made. Knowing what you're hearing makes it more tolerable. Ford's car display is in a rut. Their cars look like an answer to the question, "What if Hyundai licensed their front end design from Aston-Martin?" It's hard to believe someone asked.
The best display was put on by Chevrolet. They have embraced their international destiny. Their spokesmodels looked like people at the finish line of a European bicycle or motorcycle race. "We're sponsoring Manchester United!" one man exclaimed. I thought it was great.
The worst part of Chevy's display was the whiteboards behind the Sparks. "Keep it clean and positive!" the sign said. It looked festive, and I took a pen. As I made my way to the whiteboard, the atmosphere became terribly judgmental. They were just lurking. Because I would love to visit Brazil, I wrote, "Sua terra tem palmeiras." When I went back a few minutes later, it was gone.
The marketing teams at Mazda and Volkswagen have thrown in the towel. Most of their cars were white. VW went further to make sure that their cars were overlooked. The display was predominantly white. Also, VW has a delusion of being German. The word comes up over and over again. Why their collection of global products should have any connection to Germany is a mystery. I overheard someone say that one of their middle managers ate half of an apple strudel in 2005.
Volvo had the most subtle display. Wooden flooring evoked old Sweden. Round, uneven 4 person stools made from 1 cm strips of thick latticed sheet metal looked familiar. After a while, it was obvious: It was a nod to modern China, put in place for the parent company, Zhejiang Geely Holding Group. It was Bird's Nest Stadium in Beijing.