Shows must go on

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Road Test - PAUL GOVER paul.gover@cars­

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 view new Fords and Hon­das be­ing bolted to­gether for Aus­tralia, and exit to Europe to sam­ple the ex­cel­lence of the new VW Golf.

This time, the big Boe­ing is 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. 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 mo­tor-not­ers rack up so many fre­quent flyer miles to Detroit, Geneva, Bei­jing, Frankfurt, Chicago and Tokyo, none of them re­motely near the top of the hol­i­day list.

It’s slightly dif­fer­ent with the Paris, New York and Los An­ge­les shows, 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, so there is a dead­line ev­ery minute.

But, just be­fore the bat­tle be­gins, there’s a lit­tle time to think. Cal­i­for­nia has been car cen­tral in the US since the 1960s and the LA show is now a ma­jor event for the likes of 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 race 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.

Within weeks of an­other flight home, a cou­ple of days at the beach and some boys’ time at the driv­ing range, there will be the Detroit show in Jan­uary — the start of an­other year on the show cir­cuit.

Pic­ture: AFP

Essen is more: Finn Antti Rahko with his hand-made ‘Fin­njet’ at Ger­many’s Essen Mo­tor Show. The $US1m ve­hi­cle has eight wheels, 10 seats and weighs 3.4tonnes

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