North American International Auto Show 2012: The Tchotchkes

NAIAS tchotchkes

Just a sampling of the stuff you can pick up at the auto show


The North American International Auto Show (a.k.a. The Detroit Auto Show) opened to the press this morning and I made my first round of the displays and press conferences.

Officially, I’m here representing the Beloit Daily News and I have to reserve my more serious reporting for my faithful readers there.  Ronnie will, no doubt, submit the more serious reportage on this site which leaves me free to share the lighter side of the show with Cars in Depth fans.  First up, the tchotchke stuff.

Pictured above are some of the items that I was able to make off with today.  The three credit card size objects in the middle are flash drives from Chrysler, Chevrolet and Infiniti with their press kits preinstalled.  Likewise, the Ford key fob doubles as a flash drive complete with press kit.

Lincoln took a different approach.  The booklet next to the Ford key fob is a gift catalog of Lincoln-labeled items that you can buy.  You read that right, Lincoln expects you too send them money for their tchotchkes.  Among the available items are a lady’s scarf for $115, an Apollo rolling carry-on bag for $215, a pair of heritage design cufflinks for $170 and a leather iPad holder for $87.  (That’s more than Apple asks for a similar case.)

My vote for best tchotchkes goes to Chrysler, and for the second year in a row.  The metal Mopar oil can contains a flash drive with Mopar product information on it embedded in a rubber spark plug.  (Unfortunately, the business end of the flash drive is too stubby to fit into my first generation MacBook Air so I’ll have to wait until I get home to check it out.) Affixed to the lid is a key fob with four screw driver blades.  My theory is that it was added as an afterthought when someone realized that opening the cans would require such a tool.

The black box is a miniature “dart board” containing product information on (can you guess) the new Dodge Dart including a set of flash cards outlining the “1000’s of way to make it your own”.  Oh, and there is also a flash drive, of course.

Do trinkets such as these influence what journalists write about a manufacturer’s product?  Probably not.  Food and booze, on the other hand . . . .

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