Technology changes so rapidly that
one good thing after another disappears only to be replaced
with something new. The auto industry media demands
rapid transmission of information from the auto industry
to the public. The collector of car literature is being
by-passed, making the paper form of literature and press
kits rarer and more valuable.
Prior to the mid-1990s, press kits were not much more
than folders or notebooks with a few printed pages of
text and some black and white photographs. Then came
the golden era of press kits prior to their recent demise
into CD-ROMs and requests to download information off
the company's media web site.
Beginning in the 1990s, press kits became more and more
spectacular until the mid-2000s. Innovative packaging
and elaborate on-stage presentations at auto shows were
the norm as each company tried to upstage its competitors.
Most press kits came with color photographs and color
slides. Others included model cars or some memorabilia.
The objective of course, was to get the journalists'
attention and to give them something memorable to place
on their office desk or bookshelf that said, "Remember
us. We gave you a good time and a nice gift. Now give
us favorable press coverage."
The unintended consequence was that literature collectors
descended on the auto shows in droves and soon outnumbered
the media. The "darling" of the interlopers
was eBay. Often press kits could be found listed for
bid on the same day as the press conferences at astounding
prices. High prices then, but reasonable to low prices
now, these press kits are becoming harder to find as
they attain higher collectible value. They have become
good investments as collectors age and become nostalgic
about the 1990s.