Saturday 14 December 2019

The show must go on: but which one? Caddy for Hockey; Recalls two-a-penny; After 8.

The Faraday Future FFZERO1 electric concept which was on show at the CES in Las Vegas. Photo: Reuters.
The Faraday Future FFZERO1 electric concept which was on show at the CES in Las Vegas. Photo: Reuters.

I know the Geneva show is just around the corner - it starts for me on Tuesday - and I am loath to ask the question but I feel compelled to.

Are motor shows being undermined just a bit by technology shows that have as much to do with motoring today as engines and transmissions have always had.

For example, Ford and Volvo are using this week's Mobile World Congress in Barcelona as a showcase for their advanced technologies.

Before the Detroit Show in January the CES in Las Vegas virtually stole all the headlines with highly relevant developments.

It is all part of an increasing trend for carmakers to be at these technology shows to get in touch with, and appeal to, younger buyers.

Lots of carmakers didn't go to Detroit: understandable as the US market may not be their prime target.

But Ford and Volvo are reportedly going to skip the Parish show this autumn and Mazda are rumoured to be joining them.

Speaking of Volvo, it is interesting to see it is claiming a first in integrating the popular Spotify music streaming service globally in its new cars.

It will start with the new XC90, S90 and V90 this spring.

And where was this announced?

At the 2016 Mobile World Conference in Barcelona. See what I mean?

* Nice to see hockey getting more sponsorship. I see Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles here is now an official sponsor of Hockey Ireland. The automaker will provide them with an Amarok and Caddy to help with the development of the sport. Fair play all round, I think.

* Recalls are two a penny now; firms have to do so at the drop of a hat so they are seen to respond instantly to the merest hint of a fault. I don't think most people pay that much heed any more. There was a time it was headline news. Now it's another shrug of the shoulders for many motorists.

And it makes you wonder what faults went unreported or unattended say 20 years ago (apart from a few big-name ones of course). I'm sure there were dozens that neve raised a blip on the recall radar.

*I know some people who would be delighted if BMW resurrect its 8-series. There are reports we'll see it by 2020. Look forward to that.

* Richard Candler is Nissan Europe's head of advanced product planning and he talks sense.

He says not all connected car features are good. Shock, horror: what a thing to say in the era of connected motoring.

But he's right.

He follows a simple rule: "If I can't use something quickly then it will be an issue for the wider customer base," he told Olive Keogh for Automotive News Europe.

"(But) ease of use is critical," he says. I echo that big time. Some others please copy.

* Americans drove a record 3.148 trillion miles last year, according to the Federal Highway Administration.

The previous record was 3.003 trillion miles set in 2007. Somebody has had the calculator out and computed that it corresponds to 337 round trips to Pluto and back.

The mileage count includes buses, passenger vehicles and trucks.

Even being generous and allowing that each vehicle was able to manage 30mpg - not a hope in reality - can you imagine the ocean of fuel they burned?

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