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Looking forward to the Paris Motorshow: 4th-14th October 2018

With a special return marking 120 years of innovation, what can we expect at the 2018 Paris Motor Show? StoryStream’s Thomas Thorburn offers a preview of what’s in store.

Les 120 ans du Mondial de Paris: ça se fête, non?

It’s back and promises a punch – let’s admit it, the French tend to do these kinds of things pretty well. And it’s not just any old Paris Mondial this year: celebrating 120 years of exhibiting our favourite automobiles, there will be fireworks even before the official opening on the 4th of October. Sunday prior will see around 200 vehicles spanning 120 years of automotive history (see what they did there?) set off in a parade from Place de La Concorde in central Paris to celebrate this quite remarkable milestone. Génial!

Renewed Focus

So you’ve downloaded the app, you’ve checked the constructors’ list and you have a few friends/colleagues going. You’ve noticed that the motorshow is over two weekends instead of three this year. Ok, there’s no Ford. No Volvo. No VW, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Opel, Subaru or Mazda. Bugatti, Rolls Royce, Aston Martin non plus. Hang on a minute, that’s quite the list of absentees. Obviously they shall be missed – but whisper it softly – could the salon come out the better for a renewed focus, and not having certain constructors exhibit for the mere sake of it?

Gone will be the enormous stands of bygone years, often seen at other shows, Frankfurt included. They will be smaller and prettier, allowing for a more dense and complete show: ‘we want to excite the imagination, to excite passion’ says event General Commissioner Jean-Claude Girot.

Authentic Design

The first Mondial in 1898 required all exhibiting automobiles to make the journey from the Jardin des Tuileries in central Paris to Versailles and back (a round trip of some 40km) to separate pretenders from the real McCoy. Fast forward to the present, and it’s difficult to envisage such a unifying theme of utility on exhibitors’ stands at this edition of the Paris Mondial.

Instead, auto brands must now vie to prove to consumers that their designs around lifestyles present and future are the most authentic. Rumours have it that Citroen (celebrating their 100th birthday here), Skoda & Peugeot will exhibit concept cars at the show – expect some serious conceptual explorations of design & innovation, coupled with some look-and-feel mobility brainstorming.

It will also be interesting to see which brands’ future designs most inform their current new releases, and conversely which manufacturers keep those designs at arms’ length. The new Mercedes-Benz EQC has its sights firmly set on toppling Tesla, and looks like a welcome addition to the pure electric SUV space. Though not an exclusive to Paris, the new e-tron electric SUV promises to reveal much around just what Audi are willing to commit to an electrified future. The Nero EV is Kia’s latest nouveauté in its electric range, and looks a committed and refreshing addition to the mass-market electric bracket.

For petrolheads and purists looking for more contemporary design, SUVs and Crossovers represent many of the new car launches here, with Porsche, Citroen, Lexus and Skoda exhibiting SUVs in the Macan (facelift), the C5 Aircross (new European version), UX (new) and the Kodiaq vRS (new) respectively. Audi & DS are to exhibit the new Q3 and the new 3 Crossback crossovers respectively.

Other highlights at the show will be the unveiling of the new BMW 3-series & 8-series, a new Toyota Rav 4, Hyundai i30 Fastback and Peugeot’s new 508 SW estate. Apparently Renault have a few surprises up their sleeves too.

Authentic Engagement

Behind the scenes of the public facing show is a B2B event looking into new technologies used at every stage of the auto ecosystem. Some of these make it into this year’s show: Toyota’s live screens use StoryStream’s automotive content marketing platform to source & publish the best content created around the show onto these screens. The content journey does not stop here, however – the best event content makes its way to Toyota’s global websites, putting front and centre its motorsport heritage, cutting-edge technology and relationship with its customers. Marketers and Auto fans alike love seeing this type of dynamic, authentic content at the shows – expect to see more of it here and in the future as car buying goes more and more online.

In short, there’s a lot to look forward to this year at the world’s oldest and biggest motorshow – hope to see you there.

A toute!

Thomas Thorburn

With several years’ experience accompanying global brands through digital transformation, Thomas’ objective is to help automotive digital marketers move from transactional to diverse, engaging & consumer-centric content.