ARE MO­TOR SHOWS the most ef­fec­tive way to reach an au­di­ence? Not all of them, ac­cord­ing to Hilde­gard Wort­mann, BMW’S se­nior vice pres­i­dent for prod­uct and brand. She wouldn’t name names but is clear that the pace of change in the world needs to be met. “When you con­sider the cost ver­sus the re­turn, not all mo­tor shows de­liver,” she said. “A lot of our cus­tomers are at dif­fer­ent events to mo­tor shows, and we need to keep care­fully re­view­ing what we do.” VIS­I­TORS TO THE Geneva show might have no­ticed that there seemed to be more se­nior ex­ec­u­tives, and fig­ures from the world of mo­tor­sport, around than nor­mal on the sec­ond press day – by which point most have usu­ally joined the Lear jet ex­o­dus. One rea­son was an Fia-or­gan­ised farewell din­ner for Bernie Ec­cle­stone on the evening of the sec­ond press day. Many of the car in­dus­try’s big­gest beasts opted to stay to at­tend and oth­ers flew in spe­cially.

MERCEDES-BENZ BOSS Di­eter Zetsche wasn’t fazed at Geneva when ques­tioned about his firm’s safety re­call of one mil­lion ve­hi­cles, but he wasn’t ex­actly bullish about Mercedes’ rep­u­ta­tion for qual­ity, ei­ther. Asked how he re­flects on his ‘back to ba­sics’ strat­egy in­tro­duced in 2006, he said: “I don’t plan to write a his­tory book on what I have done for Mercedes. I am fo­cused on the fu­ture, not the past; on set­ting the right di­rec­tions for the team. I think we have an ex­cel­lent team, which is per­haps my most im­por­tant ac­com­plish­ment. Oth­ers have to judge the job that I have done.”

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