Regular followers of Autocar’s motor show coverage might have spotted a pattern. The night before the two main European shows – Geneva in March, Frankfurt or Paris in September - an avalanche of VW Group new models cascades onto social media and in-boxes.
This is a phenomenon known as ‘The Volkswagen Group Night’. To explain: VW brings all the models that it will unveil at the following day’s show to an arena where the cars are presented by each of the bosses of the ten companies that make up VW Group.
For journos - and there were about 3000 in attendance - it’s a chance to see the cars for the first time, watch them move for a short distance, listen to a short speech (and jot down the quotes) and take pics and video.
Just as important is the chance to talk to designers, engineers and marketing directors and probe for snippets that can be built up into news items for the show report, which in Autocar’s case plays out online the following two days and then builds up into multiple pages in the following week’s issue.
Having attended many of these nights, I reckon Frankfurt 2015 will bear comparison with the best, thanks to the remarkable depth and variety of new metal.
From a British perspective Bentley revealed the production Bentayga - its first-ever SUV - and four years in the making. Seen in a million pre-show pics, the £160k Bentayga looks all the more desirable, up-market and gorgeous in the metal.
I sat in the rear cabin, luxuriated in the hand-stitched leather and generally got a feel for what the most expensive SUV money-can-buy will offer when the first customer takes delivery next January.
From what I could gather at the event the first Bentayga customer will be in the UK. But who and why, I couldn’t get to the bottom of.
A handy chat with a couple of contacts wheedled out some interesting snippets on a subject that hopefully will interest Autocar readers. More to follow on that.
Then Porsche smashed it out of the park with the Mission E, a concept for a Tesla-fighting all-electric four-seat sports saloon.
Unusually, the Mission E was a genuine surprise, appearing in public just a few minutes after a taster pic and story went live online.
The elements of 911 styling, stretched proportions and ground-hugging ride height look like a winner. And given Porsche’s bullet-proof ability to rise to any engineering challenge, I expect the Mission E to set new standards for electric car driveability.
Frustratingly, the Mission E and its engineering team weren’t lined-up at the end of the event, so more details will have to wait until tomorrow.
A new Bugatti - the Vision Gran Turismo concept - made a dramatic entrance. Be-winged, be-spoilered and looking generally jaw-droppingly awesome, it drew an immense crowd.Luckily I sat near enough as it re-appeared on stage to grab a few seconds of video before the crowd closed in.
So three amazing new cars – plus a revised Porsche 911, new Audi A4, new VW Tiguan, Seat Leon Cross Sport SUV concept, new Skoda Superb Combi, Audi e-Tron Quattro concept, VW Transporter special edition and new Ducati Monster.
Conservatively, I’d say that lot adds up to at least £5billion in development and investment costs, possibly closer to £10billion. All from one company on one night.