They may look glamorous, but manufacturers shouldn't rely on beautiful women to get themselves motor show coverage
Matt Prior
20 March 2015

One lingering thought from the Geneva motor show, whose news has otherwise mostly now passed.

If you are a car maker who populates your motor show stand exclusively with female models, I am going to assume one, or more, of the following three things.

One, that you think your car is so uninteresting that no one will deign to look at it unless a model is standing next to it. Two, that you think I’m so shallow and vacuous that I won’t be interested in looking at or writing about your car unless there’s a model standing next to it. 

And three, that when you say you’re serious about encouraging women to study science, engineering or business and to join and succeed in what is a transparent, equal-opportunity car industry, you’re totally full of it. 

Because if that last point were true, at your company’s most public event of the year, you wouldn’t make your highest-profile female workers the ones who are employed only for their ability to stand and pose.

So which of those three is it? None reflects particularly well on you.

Join the debate


20 March 2015
Drawing inferences re sexism in the car biz from some models draped over show cars is absurd. Not only are the models very happy to be there, they seem entirely capable of looking after themselves. As professional models, they would probably find your views rather patronising and therefore, in their own small way, sexist. This is a harmless motor show tradition, after all, which only Harriet Harperson and the Guardianistas of this world might get upset about. When that lot finally get their way, and pass laws banning this sort of thing, THEN it's time to complain.

20 March 2015
Spoken like a true dinosaur.

Bring on the comet, I say.

20 March 2015
Wasn't she involved in Liberty an organisation that aligned itself with PIE a pedophile group prompting lowering the age of consent to 4 ! Yes that's right not a mistype 4 FFS!
Frankly I suspect that's how Jimmy Saville got away with abuse for decades along with that MP Cyril Smith who's investigation appears to have been abruptly stopped by people high up in the police force and their Free Mason friends. Even Tony Blair was arrested for cottaging but hey how nothing to see here- move along!!

 Offence can only be taken not given- so give it back!


20 March 2015
Unfortunately, I think it says more about the manufacturers perception of the potential purchasers of their product. Yes, we think you're a bunch of male chauvinistic morons, but, your money is a good as anyone else's. The truly comical part is, if said sad chauvinists realised what the models really thought of them, their egos would deflate to the size of their intellects.......

20 March 2015
And they've probably got the stats to show the effectiveness of having pretty models on their stands. Perhaps if there were more female reporters in the media, it wouldn't be effective and you'd have a better balance. Let's not forget that the car companies are spending billions of pounds developing new product, and millions on motor show stand space, they have to promote their cars in the most effective way possible.

20 March 2015
LP, I think you are analysing this too much. I don't think that any manufacturer has done any detailed analysis comparing media coverage with and without models stood by/draped over the cars.

They will employ female models for one or more of the following reasons; 1) they have always done it that way, so why change?; 2) the events manager likes having the models there, or senior management like having the models there when they are on the stand; and 3) there is an unofficial competition between the manufacturers to employ the most beautiful models.

This is still, sadly, a male dominated industry. It is changing, but like it has the turning circle of an oil tanker and will take decades for real equality to be achieved.

20 March 2015
What a cynical and depressing point of view. Why stop at motor shows with this sentiment? Why not also chase good looking women from every place of commerce. What a sad world it would be if Matt Prior were God.

I wonder what the purpose of this story is - to promote a 'great guy' personality? To make men feel guilty? To shame these models and deprive them from making some pocket money (they are mostly students)? To create clickthroughs? To fill in a blank moment?

Be careful for what you wish for. When you start pulling on this thread, at the other end is women's freedom. If you see what I mean.

20 March 2015
That is ridiculous. "Real equality" indeed - what do you want? Some blokes pouting on the stand?? The elderly, too, flashing a bit of leg? How about a Morning Star-approved spread of white and black, fat and thin, pretty and not pretty, all genders, incomes, etc? Bring in Billy Bragg to adjudicate, or even better, why not add the threat of criminal proceedings if the show organisers fail to adhere to all of this claptrap? Where does "equality" madness like this end? Moreover, who in their right mind would want to look at a smug and patronising display of "real equality"?

20 March 2015
@Norma Smellons, the equality I am talking about is equal pay and having a more balanced mix of people at senior levels in the industry. I have worked in automotive for almost fifteen years, and it is depressing going to dealer conferences for large manufacturers. Of the 200 people at these meetings, I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of women in senior positions at both the dealers and the manufacturer.

Equality is not having different genders/sexuality/ages/colours draped over cars at motor shows, it is having real diversity throughout the business.

20 March 2015
Norma Smellons wrote:

That is ridiculous. "Real equality" indeed - what do you want? Some blokes pouting on the stand?? The elderly, too, flashing a bit of leg?

Yes. A group of distinguished looking gentlemen sitting in armchairs and having a discussion to the side of a Jaguar XJ, a mini-disco with a DJ and dancers near the Fiat 500, a professor giving a lecture beside the Honda Insight, some amateur footballers using the C4 Cactus as a goalpost.

It's the idea that people are only going to find young women nice to be around that's sexist. There needs to be either actors/models/entertainers of all types employed to be around the cars or nobody at all.


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