Reporter Notebook: Big Apple Persuasion

Ward’s writers pass along the buzz at the New York International Auto Show 2007.

Special Coverage

logoNew York Int’l Auto Show

Something Old, Something New

Speaking to a crowd at the opening breakfast of the New York auto show here, Ford Motor chief Alan Mulally recalls the last time he visited the Big Apple.

It was, no doubt, a more nerve-wracking experience.

“I came to New York a couple months ago to apply for the biggest home-improvement loan of all time,” Mulally jokes.

He explains he was here to give a presentation to “about 500 bankers” in an effort to procure financing to keep the Detroit auto maker afloat.

When Mulally asked his staff why he was chosen to persuade the bankers, they told him, “You’re the only new thing we have.”

Who Let That HHR in Here?

Some odd vehicle juxtapositions are inevitable at auto shows and New York’s is no exception.

Case in point, standing about 50 ft. (15 m) from a display of silver and gray ultra-luxury Bentleys is a Chevrolet HHR delivery van concept, its rear portion covered in flower decals to show its possibility as a florist delivery van.

Lights Out, But Show Goes On

The lights suddenly went out in a meeting room at the Jacob Javits center during a press preview here, leaving a group of auto journalists and Ford executives momentarily in the dark.

The blackout caught Mark Fields, president-Americas, in mid-sentence, but he didn’t miss a beat. “We don’t want to leave our customers in the dark,” he says.

Same Time Next Year

The New York auto show is an international event now, but veteran auto writers remember it from the 1950s when it essentially was an expo for foreign vehicles.

The Japanese auto makers hadn’t made the scene yet, so the Europeans had the place to themselves. Vehicles on display included the original Volkswagen Beetle, Fiat roadsters and British models, such as the Triumph and MG.

Feel The Love

Awards for top automotive TV commercials, as gauged by viewer interest, were handed out during a media breakfast this week, and it appears the public likes car crashes.

Contest finalists included three Volkswagen of America ads depicting occupants driving and chatting, when suddenly their vehicle collides with another car. The airbags go off and there is an anxious moment of silence. But everyone is safe.

One of the ads, showing a Passat crash, was a winner in the category of “most effective ad for an established nameplate launch.”

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