After dwindling attendance figures the biennial Frankfurt motor show will move to a new city. Picture: REUTERS
After dwindling attendance figures the biennial Frankfurt motor show will move to a new city. Picture: REUTERS

The world’s biggest car show will no longer be held in Frankfurt, the show’s organising group, Verband der Automobilindustrie, says.

The biennial show, which has been hosted in Frankfurt for about 70 years, will be moved to a new city to attract more visitors after attendance numbers plummeted in recent years. Last year’s show drew only about 550,000 visitors, after the halls were filled with 810,000 attendees in 2017 and 931,000 in 2015.

Verband der Automobilindustrie has narrowed down the choice of new host city to Berlin, Hamburg or Munich, and is expected to make a decision in the next weeks.

Dwindling numbers at the Frankfurt show reflect a trend of declining attendance at world car shows.


Lamborghini teams up with Lego

Lego fans will soon be able to construct a Lego Lamborghini, though the model’s identity is still a secret. Picture: SUPPLIED
Lego fans will soon be able to construct a Lego Lamborghini, though the model’s identity is still a secret. Picture: SUPPLIED

The first Lego Technic Lamborghini set will be launched globally this year.

The new 1:8 scale set is the third model in the Lego Technic Ultimate series, following its popular predecessors, the Porsche 911 GT3 RS and the Bugatti Chiron.

Lego Technic is a building system that allows older children and adults to create advanced, complex models. With the possibility of constructing transmissions, differentials and gearing systems, it’s a more advanced building experience than the traditional bricks that many fans find challenging yet rewarding.

Katia Bassi, Lamborghini chief marketing and communication officer, said: “The Lego group has amazed entire generations with beautifully simple or extremely complex constructions. In the digital age, where entertainment is often via a screen, our collaboration with the Lego Group allows enthusiasts to live a real experience, reproducing a Lamborghini super sports car in every detail to create an outstanding model, just like the real car.”

Neither of the two companies will reveal the model’s identity yet.


Taycan takes a Super Bown spotlight

Porsche aired its first Super Bowl ad in 23 years to promote the Taycan, its first all-electric car. Picture: SUPPLIED
Porsche aired its first Super Bowl ad in 23 years to promote the Taycan, its first all-electric car. Picture: SUPPLIED

The Super Bowl, the annual finale of the US’s National Football League (NFL), is one of the world’s most watched television broadcasts every year and it costs big money to advertise.

Motor companies have deep pockets and regularly develop their most expensive advertisements for this broadcast, which reportedly costs $5.2m for a 30-second slot.

Porsche aired its first Super Bowl advert in 23 years and created a 60-second commercial entitled “The Heist” to spotlight the market launch of its Taycan electric car. The advert portrays an exciting chase between the first fully electric Porsche and almost a dozen iconic Porsche cars.

Typically for the brand, motorsport also plays a part. The TV commercial was shot in Germany in mid-November 2019 in locations including Heidelberg, Heppenheim, the Black Forest and Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen. Many of the racing cars, road vehicles and other “treasures” in the clip form part of the Porsche Museum collection, and the museum is where the chase portrayed in the commercial begins.

Protagonists include the legendary 917 K racing car, the 918 Spyder hybrid super sports car and the iconic Porsche 911.

 “The Super Bowl is famous as a TV event far beyond North America and it represents a perfect platform to reach new fans,” Oliver Hoffmann, director of marketing communications at Porsche, said.

“Our commercial links many elements that make up Porsche: sportiness, emotion, and a touch of humour, something that is typical for how we communicate in general,” Hoffmann said.

The long version of “The Heist” is now available to view on Porsche NewsTV and the Porsche YouTube channel. The commercial was broadcast during the game at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami on February 2.


An electric downside to Stroll's Aston Martin investment

The Rapide E was to usher in a new electric age for Aston Martin but its development is now under review. Picture: SUPPLIED
The Rapide E was to usher in a new electric age for Aston Martin but its development is now under review. Picture: SUPPLIED

Aston Martin’s cash lifeline from Canadian billionaire Lawrence Stroll has a major casualty — the company’s push into electric cars.

The launch of the full-electric Lagonda marque, due in 2022, has been stalled for three years, while development of the Rapide E, the main brand’s first electric model, is under review despite being almost complete, Bloomberg reports.

The rethink on electrification, a costly technology previously deemed vital to Aston Martin’s future, will cause the company to switch focus to providing hybrid cars. It’s part of a “reset plan” in terms of which there will be unspecified job cuts and a restructuring of sales and marketing operations.

While the changes mark a setback for CEO Andy Palmer’s ambitious expansion strategy, the upcoming DBX model appears to have survived the cull. Aston Martin’s first SUV is at the centre of efforts to lift sales, with deliveries to customers due to start later this year.

The sports and luxury specialist said it’s also focused on rebalancing supply with demand to bolster pricing.

Aston Martin secured a deal to sell a stake of up to 20% in the struggling company to billionaire Stroll, providing the luxury UK carmaker with much-needed funds to build a new SUV.

A consortium led by Stroll will pay $239m for a 16.7% stake, while a subsequent rights issue supported by major shareholders including Stroll will raise $413m more, Aston Martin said on Friday.

Stroll’s stake could rise to 20% upon completion of the rights issue.

The move will “immediately improve liquidity and reduce leverage”, Aston Martin said. “This follows the disappointing performance of the business through 2019.”

Stroll, a Canadian investor who owns a Formula One racing team, won the backing of Aston Martin’s board after rival suitor Geely cooled on the idea of investing in the sports car maker. Geely — which controls Sweden’s Volvo, Britain’s Lotus Cars and holds a stake in Daimler — had been interested in a technology-sharing deal, sources said.

Aston Martin is mainly owned by Italian and Kuwaiti private equity groups. The fundraising plan hands the carmaker a lifeline that will ease funding strains as it prepares to start building its first SUV, the DBX.

Stroll, 60, who owns a fleet of vintage Ferraris, made his fortune building and selling two fashion brands. He and his partner, Silas Chou, took Tommy Hilfiger public in 1992 and later sold it to private equity buyers. In 2011, they listed the Michael Kors brand, eight years after acquiring majority control.

He led a group of investors who took over the Force India Formula One team after it was forced into administration. Renamed Racing Point, it is based in the UK and gets its engines from Mercedes-Benz. Stroll’s son Lance is a driver for the team.

Under Friday’s agreement, Stroll’s Racing Point will become the Aston Martin F1 works team from the 2021 season.

Would you like to comment on this article or view other readers' comments?
Register (it’s quick and free) or sign in now.

Speech Bubbles

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.