MediaFile

Frankfurt Motor Show tickets going once… going twice…

Some say the Frankfurt Motor Show, which started on Sept. 15, has lost a bit of its lustre amid the crisis that has hit the global car industry with an economic baseball bat. But there are still people out there who are willing to shell out the big bucks to go see the new car launches. One lucky bidder, identified only as i
l on www.ebay.de paid 158 euros ($232) for two tickets to get into the car show today, days before other mortals are allowed to pass through the big white doors leading into the halls of the show. There are 150 separate auctions for tickets to the car show, with sale prices starting at 7 euros for tickets valid on the days that are open to the public, which start on Sept. 19. So it looks like there are still plenty of people out there who are just wild about cars even though the government has to pay tightfisted consumers to buy a new one with their cash for clunkers programme. Would you pay that much to get a glimpse of  what the automotive industry has in store before others can?

Frankfurt Motor Show features babes and beasts

Photo by Edward Taylor

The Frankfurt Motor Show is bustling with scantily clad models in high, high heels who present carmakers new models. Volkswagen‘s Skoda decided against the models and opted for a more furry mascot. To present its new 4×4 crossover Yeti model, it hired the abominable snowman! Mom is never going to believe this…

Axed Porsche CEO tries Robin Hood tactics to bolster blue collar image

Germans love to see the mighty fall just a little bit more than the rest of the world, and freshly ousted Porsche CEO Wendelin Wiedeking is a perfect candidate. Yes, he made tiny, almost bankrupt Porsche successful again but did he have to be so smug about it? And was he really worth the millions of euros he raked in every year in a country where executive pay is a thorny issue? His salary, which made him the best paid German manager by far, was a topic of endless fascination in the German media. Wiedeking never divulged how much he made but unapologetically said he deserved what he earned — estimated to have been 80 million euros last year. Even before his dismissal was official, speculation swirled about how extraordinary his severance payment would be, with some putting the figure at 250 million euros. In the end it was less but still a handsome sum of 50 million euros, considering he leaves Porsche with a huge mountain of debt. As Wiedeking climbs off the throne, he is eager to burnish his blue collar credentials and in Robin Hood style announced he would donate what’s left of his payment after taxes to charity. Some of it will go to a foundation for Porsche staff, some into projects to create new jobs and, in a final swipe at his critics, he promised to give to a charity for “elderly and suffering journalists”. Take that, hacks.

from Fan Fare:

NASCAR goes Hollywood!

nascar11No longer content to watch its cars race around a track or turn up only on ESPN's Sports Center and other news shows, NASCAR is turning to Hollywood.

NASCAR, the U.S. auto racing association formed in 1948, has teamed up with Tinseltown Toons to produce an animated family film tentatively called "NASCAR: The Secret Life of Cars."

Everybody wants to be in the movie business, right? So, why not NASCAR.

The film, which is aimed at home entertainment audiences and scheduled for release on DVD, is expected to be completed in 2011 and will tell what happens in a NASCAR garage when humans leave and cars come to life, according to a press release. And if it could be as big a hit as "Cars" or "Transformers" then it may be that NASCAR will be in the movie biz for years to come.

CES: Ford turns hip with Eva

Ford CEO Alan Mulally unveiled new features of its voice-command activated in-car system Sync yesterday at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, highlighting its connectivity with a driver’s other devices, including cell phones and personal computers.

Mulally then showed off a futuristic dashboard featuring an electronic personal assistant, Eva (for Emotive Voice Activation). In a small video clip of how it could all work, the Eva avatar engaged the driver in conversation and performed tasks like scheduling appointments. It’s the next generation of Ford’s Human Machine Interface (HMI) strategy, Mulally said.

“Everyone is growing up with a connected device and they don’t want to be disconnected,” Mulally told Reuters in a brief interview after his CES keynote address. Ford’s hoping its Sync service, developed with Microsoft and launched 18 months ago, will appeal especially to younger car buyers. Earlier, he’d said his five kids are his “focus group,” often e-mailing him articles about new gadgets and trends from Wired.com and other sites.