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Editorial - Putting the “show” in the Geneva International Motor Show

Editorial Putting the “show” in the Geneva International Motor Show

We look ahead to a week of automotive content on WorldTempus with some quotes from leading figures in the industry.

Spending half a day on the giant TAG Heuer stand at the Geneva International Motor Show turned out to be a great way of getting an overview of the latest developments in the automotive industry and motorsport without wearing out your shoe leather. Jean-Claude Biver once again stole the show by bringing leading names from the world of motorsport to a press conference where you could see more cowbells and cheese than cars. With the help of some quotes from leading figures in the industry, here is what we learned.

When it comes to marketing and brand awareness, Jean-Claude Biver is a force to be reckoned with. So much so, in fact, that Simon Sproule, Chief Marketing Officer of Aston Martin, thinks he will have trouble keeping up. “Mr Biver sets a very high bar in terms of marketing and my job as Chief Marketing Officer of Aston Martin will be to run fast to keep up with him,” he says.

TAG Heuer will once again be visible on the Aston Martin Racing Red Bull Racing Formula 1 cars this year, but how is the team shaping up for the season? “I think we have the basis for a good car and the drivers feel confident in it,” team principal Christian Horner told me. “Mercedes for sure are the favourites and look in good shape, but hopefully we can put them under pressure at some races this year.”

Gulf Oil renewed its historical partnership with TAG Heuer, harking back to the days when Steve McQueen wore the gulf livery on his overalls and a TAG Heuer Monaco on the wrist in the film Le Mans. For Frank Rutten, Vice-President International of Gulf Oil, such partnerships help to build up trust for the 116-year-old brand. But beyond that the watches, for him, bring a personal and emotional element with them. “I have about 64 white shirts and no other colours,” he confided in me, “so the watch I wear is a way for me to express how I’m feeling. I could buy some pink shirts instead, but I’d rather buy a watch!”

The future is electric

TAG Heuer hedged its bets a few years back when it became a founding partner of the Formula E championship. As the championship’s founder and CEO, Alejandro Agag, explained to me, the early days of this innovative championship were not easy and there was a lot of scepticism among car manufacturers and potential sponsors. But in just a few years, the autonomy of the electric cars competing in the championship has doubled. “In time it will be the only motorsport that is relevant to the car industry,” he predicts.

It’s only right that we leave the last word to Mr Biver, who managed to bring all these figures together (plus His Serene Highness Prince Albert of Monaco) for a huge press conference at the Geneva International Motor Show. As a man who does a huge amount of travelling, he was taken by the Lagonda concept car presented by Aston Martin at the show. “It has a fantastic interior, where four people can sit in comfort. It would be great to get in and just say ‘I want to go to TAG Heuer in La Chaux-de-Fonds’ and let the car do the rest. I could even do my interviews in it in the future and I could ask it to drive you home when we finish!”. Watch this space!

Read the full interviews with the above-mentioned people on WorldTempus in the coming days.

The brand

Over 150 years of watchmaking savoir-faire and technical innovation have made TAG Heuer a global reference in avant-garde sports watches. As it tracked the rise of sports demanding increasingly precise timekeeping, TAG Heuer continually developed its unique capabilities through a long-term vision of what watchmaking is today, and what it will look like tomorrow.

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