GENEVA -- Korean automakers have created a little buzz during press days at the Geneva auto show. Kia's new Carnival minivan and cee'd five-door are prime-time players here.
But the way Kia introduced its products left a little to be desired.
That's not saying that every automaker did a bang-up job. At the Geneva auto show, each brand gets 15 minutes for its press conference to use as it sees fit.
I'm sure some insurance underwriters questioned the wisdom (never mind the decorum issue) of having Chrysler group honcho Tom LaSorda and DaimlerChrysler CEO Dieter Zetsche tooling around on a bicycle built for two.
Opel opened its introduction of its new GT with a pop band that played a classy rendition of "Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend."
I enjoyed it, but it probably wasn't everyone's cup of tea.
I also got a kick out of Bob Lutz telling about his involvement with the original Opel GT nearly 40 years ago, including how he married the model who was Miss GT, even though that part of the story didn't have a happy ending.
There was no Miss GT this time, though just about everybody agrees that Italian automakers still know how to dress up a stand with stylish, attractive models.
That brings us back to Kia.
The Lancia press conference, which was slotted just before Kia, droned on past its allotted time.
At first, the Kia execs waited. But after about five minutes, they started. Since the Lancia stand was in the same vicinity, the immediate effect was dueling press conferences.
Before long the Italians finished, and the Koreans had the floor to themselves, and they kept it for 25 minutes.
The talking part was long. And dull. The music/dancing/acrobatics part was downright offensive.
That's because the performers' costumes displayed parts of national flags. Somebody must have thought that costumes made to look like they came from parts of many flags would be a hip tie-in to the Hyundai/Kia sponsorship of the World Cup this year.
The performers wore flag bits from Switzerland, Germany, Italy, Australia and the United States. That's about all I could identify, but there were clearly more flags.
I didn't notice any cut-up Korean flags, although a couple of performers walked around waving full-sized Korean and European Union flags.
I wasn't the only one whose jaw dropped.
Koreans clearly have big plans for Europe and much of the rest of the world. Maybe they can come up with a better way to make that point.
You may e-mail Edward Lapham at [email protected]