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.”