By Michael O'Connell Posted April 13, 2009, 9:30 AM EDT
NEW YORK The easiest way brands at this year's New York International Auto Show cut costs was by keeping press presentations in their own quarters of the show floor, sparing the additional venue fees associated with elaborate events in the Jacob Javits Center's other halls and conference areas. Toyota's Scion was the sole division to venture off the floor on Wednesday, opting instead for a dark, dramatic unveiling of its new IQ concept vehicle in the Javits Galleria.
Staffers toting signs that advertised “next presentation this way” had a fairly easy job during the press preview. Few of the conferences were more than a couple booths apart. But at noon on Wednesday, several hundred attendees took an escalator up one level to a hall Scion draped in black fabric to seal out sunlight, and lit only in hanging neon rods and a few blue lights overhead. People in the crowd commented on how the vast room recalled images from the film adaptation of George Orwell's 1984, wondering if the presentation would be delivered by Big Brother.
But it was just Scion vice president Jack Hollis who emerged from behind a smoke machine to discuss the direction of Toyota's economy division. Once it was time to unveil the concept car, strobe lights flashed and a neon yellow subcompact began to descend from a hidden compartment high above the crowd. Techno music blared as the vehicle slowly made its way to the stage, before finally landing in a puff of smoke, where it was greeted by a swarm of photographers.