Car shows are a global relay

29 November 2012
, CarsGuide
Car shows are a global relay
The big global events are about making an instant impact.

Jumbo jets have shrunk the world and compressed the car business into a series of hops around the globe.

These days it's easy to jump to Japan to see Mitsubishi plotting its comeback campaign, travel to Thailand to see new Fords and Hondas being screwed together for Australia, and exit to Europe to sample the excellence of the new Volkswagen Golf.

This time around, the big Boeing is somewhere over the Pacific and the destination is Los Angeles. By the time you read this, the last big motor show of 2012 will be in full swing and we'll be talking about everything from a new Kia Cerato to a Porsche Cayman and a replacement for the Toyota RAV4.

That's the way it works now. There was a time when shows were about selling, and the smart companies still converted a lot of customers in Sydney last month during the Australian International Motor Show, but the big global events are about making an instant impact.

That's why the band of brothers called the international motor press rack up so many frequent flier miles on trips to Detroit, Geneva, Beijing, Frankfurt, Chicago and Tokyo. None of them is remotely near the top of my holiday list.

It's slightly different with the shows in Paris and New York and Los Angeles, because those are cities where you would actually like to take a break. But a major motor show is an 18-hour-a-day grind that's packed with bright lights, new arrivals, executive briefings and pressure. You want to know, we want to show, and so there is a deadline every minute.

But, just before the battle begins, there is a little time to think. California has been car central in the USA since the sixties and the LA show is now a major event for companies like Kia, Lexus and Porsche, who see it as the best way to drive a wedge into the world's biggest car market.

More than a dozen Australian journalists will be racing to get the news home, because Australians are even more passionate about cars than the freeway driven Angelinos. But I cannot shift focus from my three-year-old, Eli, and what he would take out of LA.

The new cars would be fun for a while and he knows a bit about what his dad does, but he would be much more likely to be laughing at Disneyland, racing to see Mickey and dancing around Donald. So I'm already thinking about the Boeing to home on Friday night and a weekend at the beach with some boys' time at the driving range.

I'll see you soon little man, and I'm sorry that Detroit in January is just a few weeks away and the start of another year on the show circuit.