But while all the usual press mob traipsed out to Paris, there were some notable no shows on the other side of the fence: Bentley, Aston Martin, McLaren, Rolls-Royce, Mazda, Volvo and Ford were among those who decided their money would be better off spent elsewhere. And while it’s perhaps not that surprising that small exotic car manufacturers might elect not to attend such a mainstream show, for Ford to reach the same conclusion is nothing short of shocking. Two of the top six best selling cars in Europe last year were Fords for goodness sake, with the Fiesta firmly anchored in the number two slot.
The problem is such behaviour is contagious. Of course the French will always turn up to their home show, but if there aren’t meetings going on right now at Vauxhall/Opel and others to debate the merits of returning to Paris in 2018, I would be somewhat surprised. And I can’t see the problem going away any time soon, and here’s why.
Conventional motor shows, where people flock to large halls to see cars parked, inanimate and mute are, in automotive terms, a dark ages relic. Look at pictures taken from Olympia before the war and Paris in 2016 and only the cars and colour have changed. But the world outside the show halls, the way people inform themselves about cars and even the way they buy them has changed out of all recognition.