Frankfurt, Tokyo, Los Angeles and now Detroit. Big
auto shows around the world show off their production
and concept cars to media and the public in hopes that
the publicity will increase their sales. In press conferences
they expound on their past accomplishments and brag
about their expectations for the future. Each manufacturer
tries to outdo the other with spectacular shows. Some
go with flashing lights, loud music and scantily clad
women, while others simple parade out their top executives
and designers who point to and describe remarkable features
of the cars. Or, like most, they try to combine all
of the above. The shows are fun for journalists and
they leave with press kits to promote the companies'
For those of us who collect press kits, the shows are
not as productive as they were a few years ago. Technology
has not been our friend. Elaborate press kits stuffed
with photographs and lots of text, many done in novel
ways that made them well worth collecting, are now a
thing of the past. Most press kits are a folder with
a CD-ROM diskette. When handed out it is always pointed
out that everything, plus more, is on the media website.
Maybe a trinket of some kind will also be passed out,
but the thrill of receiving a valuable keepsake is absent.
The golden age of the press kit was in the 1990s and
early 2000s. Collectors are now realizing that those
were the "good old days" and that press kits
are becoming history. Now, with high oil prices and
environmental concerns, the automobile has begun its
"green period". Those old press kits are now
headed for the nostalgia period in auto enthusiasts
lives and collectors like to preserve memories.