PARIS--Back in the '90s, we motoring journalists would attend international motor shows and end up hauling bulky press kits. You know, the kind that included dozens of sheets of paper. The kind that must have felled hundreds of trees in the forest. The kind that gave us welts on our shoulders with their burdensome weight.
Thankfully for Mother Nature (and our shoulders), data-storage technology has so advanced over the years that paper is no longer needed to print the car companies' voluminous press materials. In the early 2000s, we started receiving just CDs in lieu of the cumbersome press kits. This year at the Paris Motor Show, nearly all carmakers resorted to Universal Serial Bus devices--most commonly in the form of thumb drives--to distribute their information to the journalists in attendance.
Below are photos of the 17 USB devices that I was able to amass. Most of these were sleek and small metal items. Some--like those from Lexus and Lamborghini--added special design elements that made them look more elegant than the others. One memory stick in particular--that of Hyundai--was very creative in that it took the shape of a car key. Meanwhile, the one from Ford was a miniature Focus hatchback.
Others, like BMW and Infiniti, gave out USB cards. And Fisker tried to convey its environmentalism by crafting its USB stick in wood. The one from Renault was too old-school (and hence boring). But the real catch was Ferrari's thumb drive, not only because it had the Prancing Horse logo but also because it was wrapped in black leather and sported the Italian flag.
These USB sticks have serious storage capacities, too, with some boasting as much as 4GB of space. And yes, they were just being given away to the press. Top Gear Philippines' staff members back home will surely have a blast dividing my thumb-drive loot among themselves.
Photos by Vernon B. Sarne