Why car launches are important?

To get media attention launches have to be at spectacular locales that provide good pictures to captivate readers

Nothing succeeds like success and nothing fails faster than a bad beginning. A car company may spend 500 to 1000 million dollars in the production of a new model so 2 to 10 million spent on its launch is a small price to ensure that it gets a good initial push. Prospective car buyers are very interested in new models and if a new car is badly positioned or priced it is very difficult and expensive to try to correct the damage later. To get media attention launches have to be at spectacular locales that provide good pictures to captivate readers. The roads through spectacular landscapes are needed to enchant the auto journalists as well as to demonstrate the power, ride, handling, speed, comfort, styling and other features of the car.

One of my most memorable motoring memories was a delicious drive in a great car with a luxurious cruise on a great river. When BMW launched a new model 5 Series Saloon in the autumn of 1995, I was lucky to be included in one of 10 groups of around 40 journalists who were first flown to Vienna. After a day’s sightseeing of Austria’s beautiful baroque architecture, we were ushered into huge cabins on a 100-room luxury cruise ship on the Danube River. The entire top deck had been festooned with engines, suspension systems and other technological marvels that we examined before the presentation after a sumptuous dinner.

Next morning, the ship docked about 150 kms up river at Melk famous for its ancient Benedictine monastery. We then eagerly got into the brand new 170-bhp 523i and a 193-bhp 528i models with manual and automatic gearboxes and drove through the most delectable winding country roads of the lower Alps. In late October the weather was cool and sunny and the sight of ripening apples being plucked on the gentle hills and the vineyards being harvested was a feast for the eyes.

We drove as fast as we dared up the slopes and around the curves for about 150 Kilometers till we stopped for lunch. Then came another long stretch including highways back to Vienna. The car’s handling and acceleration over this lovely terrain was a treat even though the speed limits restrained our top speeds. After three days of feasting our senses on a beautiful city, a delightful river cruise and a superlative car we had memories to last a lifetime.

Auto journalists are very fortunate to have opportunities for many great driving experiences and I have driven many great new cars and SUV’s to many lovely places in Korea, Japan, China, Malaysia, Thailand, Egypt, Italy, Portugal, Spain, France, Germany, Sweden, UK and USA to say nothing of countless lovely drives in India. I have also driven on Formula 1 race tracks in Japan, China, Malaysia and India. Not in the Formula 1 cars that need special training but in many other great cars and hatchbacks. Driving a good car on one of these specially built high speed race tracks provide an unbelievable thrill so it is easy to write eloquently about the experience and to praise the new car.

The author is the region’s most celebrated automobile columnist