Color Me Bad, Crayola Eliminates a Color — Automakers Take Notice

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Stephan Franklin, Auto Show Global

Word on the street is that Crayola the crayon manufacturer is eliminating a color from its 24 color pack line. While I’m sure that this is causing some anxiety somewhere, I wish the automotive companies would take a cue. I have some recommendations of my own of colors that need to get the axe:

  • Only five shades of Silver please
  • No Green of any shade, particularly Lime Green
  • Mauve, enough said
  • Anything that is a shade of sorbet
  • Flesh tones
  • Robin Egg Blue
  • 1960’s household appliance colors
  • Split Pea Soup

If you have any other suggestions, email them to autoshowglobal@gmail.com.

The Longest Mile

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Stephan Franklin Auto Show Global

Automakers are in the process of trying to coax the new head of the EPA to reduce the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards for vehicles for 2025, that were put into place by former president Barack Obama. I’m not going to go into a long drawn out explanation of the rules and the history of CAFÉ standards and the struggle of the automakers. What may or may not happen possibly could create all stakeholders involved, particularly the consumer and the automakers.

New technology costs money which is gladly passed to the consumer. Convenience costs money, and consumers have proven that they are willing to pay for it. With the plethora of new SUVs and crossovers revealed over the last year by the automakers, it doesn’t appear that there is any Intention of meeting the 2025 CAFÉ deliverable. The major component in the face regulation average involves production. To meet the CAFE average, (X) number of total vehicles produced must meet the average the set by the government. For example, a company produces 100 hybrids that gets 100 mpg and 100 SUV’s that get 20mpg, the average is 60mpg.

Hello world, hybrids are not the cash cows. Cars aren’t selling at the rate everyone would like them to compare to SUV’s, and provide a lower profit margin than SUV’s and pick-up trucks. CAFÉ standards are still based on what’s produced, not sold. That like cooking dinner for 100 people when only 4 people live in the house, you are eating the cost as well as the food. Currently, most automakers are making good money, and are making what sells. This new target may ultimately threaten the bottom line for automakers, which will drive up vehicle cost to the consumer. No one is letting go of a tree, to stand on Capitol Hill and protest the regulations. I’m not sure how much lobbying is going to have to be done to move the needle, but the money talks and the automakers are going to pay one way or another, but who really pays for the longest mile.

2017 Geneva International Motor Show

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Stephan Franklin, Auto Show Global

The Geneva Auto Show is the premiere auto show in Europe. This year there were more than 40 global debuts in the Palexpo convention center. The rest of the displays were products that were revealed at the other major shows from Detroit, Chicago, and Los Angeles. Geneva, Switzerland has no automotive companies in its backyard yet is one of the most influential shows on the global circuit. Of course, the media buzz was diminished from some of the reveals since a lot of press announcements came weeks before the show. Manufacturers such as Mercedes, released a slew of new products to the media two weeks prior to the show, particularly the AMG product line.Historically speaking, most of the luxury brands and high end companies such as Rolls Royce, or McLaren, participate in this show, and forgo some of the North American ones. In most cases, the products that are being revealed don’t necessarily have a strong market in the U.S. or the product isn’t available for mass export. Supercars like the new McLaren 720S debuted, but won’t see the North American circuit. Even this year, the global media took notice that the displays of some high-end automobiles were down from years past. It is believed between longer vehicle development cycles, and show production cost, it has been more cost effective to use the internet to unveil new products. Nonetheless, the media seems to be impressed with the showings and are looking forward to more North American reveals at New York, in April.

 

Who Is “Matte Finish”

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Stephan Franklin, Auto Show Global

At the North American International Auto Show this past January, I noticed that some of the luxury brands displayed not only unique color combinations, but a variety of finishes. We commonly associate high-gloss finishes with quality and high luxury, but Mercedes, Audi, and Lexus gave us a taste of “Matte Finish”. I remember meeting Matte Finish at the Lamborghini display, on a purple “Huracan”, in 2010. It was odd looking, but not too offensive. I have seen Matte Finish around town lately as well, recently on a 2016 Corvette, in “Hi-Lighter Yellow”.

I’m not sure of the history behind Matte Finish, but I understand the distinction that comes with such an option. It’s just different. On certain cars, it may appear cheap, as if someone forgot to apply clearcoat to the finish. I don’t think you can get away with Matte Finish on a Ford Fusion, but you can on an Audi S7. Luckily for Matte Finish, he isn’t in high demand, nor is made to seen by everyone. In some cases, I do believe he chooses to be exclusive.

Wow, Really? the wind in the “Windy City”

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Stephan Franklin, Auto Show Global

I can see right now, this auto show season is not going to be with out a little drama. We are already a little tense about the Consumer Electronics Show (CES)  coming on board and taking up media space for automotive debuts. February 10, Forbes reported that Chicago auto show organizers blamed the media for the lack of attention and promotion of the show. When really there wasn’t as much product to promote in the first place. Laughable.

My views are a little different. In as much as the Chicago show was once competing with Detroit to host the North American International Auto Show, especially when McCormick Place, in downtown Chicago  is larger than Cobo Hall in Detroit. Let’s not excuse the fact that the automotive companies have ties in Michigan and California. Lets all together agree and admit that it’s cheaper to announce a new product online than to stage an elaborate show. What company wants to spend millions of dollars on a product reveal only to be a fleeting afterthought when your competitor reveals their new product 15 minutes later. In this life, its about owning the spotlight, not sharing it. This year, the North American International Auto Show, in Detroit, had one media day for the automotive companies and a media day for “Automobility”, We, in Detroit… survived.

Basically, there are 4 major shows in North America from November to April; Los Angeles, Detroit, Chicago, and New York. Every show has it own niche of reveals and product launches. The auto shows were designed for the dealers to showcase the products under one roof for the customers, not the media. Often times when manufacturers decide not to display vehicles is when when there is a small market for the product or there is not a significant addition or change to the product line. Now maybe because the hottest thing that showed up to Chicago was the 2018 Ford Expedition or the 2018 Dodge Durango SRT, which really got its media buzz before the show. If there is a complaint to be directed, direct it at the companies, or even the folks at CES, but not the media, for lack of coverage and product

 

The 2017 Chicago Auto Show

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Stephan Franklin, Auto Show Global

We are into the next big show of the auto show season, the Chicago Auto show. I’m anticipating very few reveals, since most have debuted in Los Angeles, Consumer Electronics Show-Las Vegas, and Detroit. There should be a couple of new 2018 production models, opportunities to experience the autonomous vehicle displays, and new previously revealed concepts.

Of course we will bringing you the highlights and latest news

For dates and times visit the website http://www.chicagoautoshow.com/news/events/

Now That The Show Is Over…

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This Is How I Feel About NAIAS

Stephan Franklin, Auto Show Global

So, now that the North American International Auto Show is over with, we have some fun notes that hopefully will carry us through 2017.

“Autonomous cars are here to stay, and there is nothing we can do about it”, according to one of my car design buddies. I do believe that everyone i now trying to figure how to package more sensors and still meet “Ped-Pro” requirements.

The total attendance numbers were down this year, with the good weather, i guess consumers had a better alternative. Besides, with Consumers Electronic Show (CES), the week before, there wasn’t anything mind blowing to debut.

Speaking of which, the 2018 Toyota Camry, GMC Terrain, and the Chevy Traverse…

The show reminded me more of a sales floor than an auto show. Everyone was conservatively dressed to do business, but had little knowledge about the product. I got so many business cards to visit a website, I felt like it was more of a networking event. I needed a resume, really I did.

I waiting for the car companies to bridge the generation gap with the product offerings. Instead, I have seen lifestyle focused vehicles, that change in dimension as much as dress sizes. We were inundated with cross-overs and SUV’s. and for those designing stuff and throwing out what sticks, or replicating the same user-friendly, adaptive, vehicular control systems, give me good practical design.

The European luxury brands showcased exterior matte finishes as an option, which i thought looked pretty hot, but for $90,000, I think I want clear coat somewhere.

With the comeback of Detroit in the media, when will the other missing brands grace Detroit with their presence, Bentley, Aston Martin, Porsche, Tesla, I see enough around town, display at the show.

Cadillac reveals yet another luxury concept and still can’t figure out how to make the SIXTEEN. Today Cadillac announced that there may be additional products coming out in the next 2-3 years. A smaller than XT-5, and a larger than XT-5, and a smaller ATS size vehicle could possibly hit the streets before 2020. At some point GM will realize that less is more.

I really liked how the auto manufacturers played up the city of Detroit. Where there may not have been much handed out to the media, Mercedes in particular invested the time to promote the city as well as their product.

I hope everyone had fun this year at the show. Don’t forget next year there will be a change in the date, Thanks CES

 

January of 2018: Guess Who’s Moving In?

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By Stephan Franklin, Auto Show Global

Monday, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) announced its January dates for 2018: 1/9/2018 – 1/12/2018. This may push the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) back a week later to Martin Luther King Jr. holiday week for media previews. It was bad enough that because of the CES show, some vehicles didn’t make it to the NAIAS show for the media days. Now, who know how 2018’s auto show season schedule will play out.

This year while the 2017 CES show was ending in Las Vegas, the FCA Chrysler “Portal” Concept was on its way to Detroit — double-timing it back, I’m sure, because it had already missed the media days and wasn’t on display on the show floor until mid-week. Obviously, with new technology coming to the forefront and demanding industry attention, the story is more about the tech than the vehicle, forcing automakers  to decide when and where an appropriate reveal should take place — the top tech show or the top car show.

Rumor has it that the decision makers are considering possibly moving the NAIAS show to the month of May after Chicago and New York shows.

I love CES, especially when it lived in November. Now, with CES in January, and moving closer to NAIAS, it reminds me of the neighbor that builds a large modern home, in an established quiet neighborhood of English Tudors.

@ the 2017 North American International Auto Show, Pt. 2

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Mecedes Benz EQ Concept

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Stephan Franklin, Auto Show Global

Day two at the show we spent more time collecting more information and images to share. Since all of the reveals were on Monday, day two focused on the future of mobility and technology. I was able to sit and talk with a few designers and get an overall feel of their view of the future. I walked around and made quite a few observations as the staff grabbed a few more pictures. We cant wait to share. Check back with us often. In the mean time, here are a few notable displays to check out.