Should you mark your calendar for the 69th Turin Motor Show in 2002? Honestly, it is hard to say if it will be worth it. The Turin show just turned 100 - the first was held on May 21, 1900 - but it is desperately fighting for its future.
The show was moved from April to June to avoid being overshadowed by the Geneva show, but it still was missing a number of major makers, including Ford and Toyota. World debuts of production cars numbered just two: the Alfa Romeo 147 and Hyundai Elantra. Even the design side, Turin's traditional strength, was disappointing: Quantity did not match quality.
As a young reporter 20 years ago, I remember seeing at the Turin show chairmen and CEOs of Chrysler, Ford and General Motors, plus the top brass of the European motor industry. They came in huge delegations to sniff out design trends.
How many top executives showed up this year? Just two: Fiat Auto's chairman, Paolo Cantarella, and its president, Roberto Testore. But they live in Turin. And Cantarella even works next door to the Lingotto show complex.