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COMMENT: Innovations need inspiration

BMW did not spare any expense at the introduction of its new 5 series last week. The German carmaker hired a Lufthansa aircraft hangar and, with the help from specialists, turned it into a theater auditorium with several stages. BMW also laid on a large buffet meal.

Costly light- and sound-systems were used for the presentation of the new 5 series to 2,500 potential buyers from the Munich area.

Shortly before midnight, girls dressed as scantily dressed angels introduced the Bavarian brand's key new model, accompanied by powerful music and with the participation of BMW group boss Helmut Panke.

But at that point the styling of the car was no longer a secret. A week earlier, the two largest private German TV stations had aired a 12-minute long promotion show for the 5 series. TV ratings found that the shows had attracted three million viewers.

The most popular German talk show, which was on at the same time, generated significantly less interest.

Innovations need inspiration. A conventional publicity brochure listing a new car's technical advantages is no longer sufficient to lure the German public into buying a car.

Which means that the weeks during the run-up to the IAA Frankfurt auto show in September -- and also the months following the show, when the 73 new models that will debut at the show will be launched on the market -- promise to become very entertaining.

Bernd Gottschalk, president of the Verband der Automobilindustrie (VDA, the association of the automotive industry) promised: "Carmakers will respond to the challenges that result from the current market situation with a product offensive without equal."

Tags: Automakers BMW

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