Launch of the week: Jag, MX-5 or Merc?

It’s all about live streaming for launches now, but who got it right?

By Shahzad Sheikh


Outside of a major Motor Show, to us automotive journos the launch of a new car is normally heralded by a press release and a handful of pretty pictures. Last week, that all changed.

Three manufacturers set out to raise the bar with live-streamed webcasts going out globally ranging in style from televised press conferences, to a pop-concert to an epic all-out red-carpet extravaganza with theatrical performances, multiple locations, ‘behind-the-scenes interviews,’ big stunts and live music performances.


Jaguar XE

Let’s tackle that last one first. You can watch the whole thing here below, but I’ve got to warn you, it’s nearly three hours long – yep, about the length of a Bollywood blockbuster. And there are more similarities – appalling script, bad overacting, musical interludes, and there was even an Indian in it.


You’ve got to hand it to Jaguar though, they pulled out all the stops for the new XE – an all-new small saloon to compete with the likes of the BMW 3-series, and probably ideally suited more to Europe than to our region.


They spent mega-bucks on this production, which as well as a launch involved flying a car over London by helicopter and floating it along the Thames in a barge, as well as a song written especially for the car by singer Emeli Sandé who also performed her other hits as a finale.

Jaguar XE teaser Emeli Sandé

However apart from the overly jubilant interviews with the executives, the bad presenting and fluffed lines by the lady in red with the microphone, and the sheer length of it, it was the harking back to the 50s and 70s complete with terrible stereotyping, including the geeky Indian techy person who had an Indian not northern accent, that jarred and may have done Jag more harm than good.

It was ambitious, but way over the top for a car that ultimately was not actually that exciting a product – it’s not like the gorgeous F-Type for example – and I couldn’t really bring myself to even watch all of it. #FeelXE? No I didn’t quite.

new 2015 Mercedes AMG GT

Mercedes AMG GT

Similarly it actually proved hard going to follow the much shorter Mercedes-Benz live reveal of the all-new AMG GT, not least because it foolishly clashed with the Apple iPhone 6 and  Apple Watch live reveal which was pretty much using up all the global network bandwidth at the same time.

new 2015 Mercedes AMG GT

However the typically Mercedes presentation was, well, boring. All pretty straight-laced, a load of suits stomping onto the podium to self-congratulatory applause, cheerlessly extolling the virtues and technical advances of the all new Porsche-baiting muscle car coupe – the AMG GT.

new 2015 Mercedes AMG GT

It wasn’t anywhere near as spectacular or entertaining as the Jaguar show. And they show themselves to be luddites when it comes to these things because they didn’t even have a #Hashtag for the AMG GT – what the fish?!

new 2015 Mercedes AMG GT

However, they did redeem themselves by having an F1 winner driving the car (eventually after the boring speeches were finally over) onto the stage, straight after a great all-action video demonstrating the car in full-donut action and letting us hear the angry AMG unit roar.

The best bit of course was the car itself – a thundering, beautiful beast which, of the three new car launches, is probably the most relevant to our region, and likely to do well here. Read more about the car here.

2016 Mazda MX-5

Mazda MX-5 Miata

In my opinion though, it was Mazda that got it right. At only about 25 minutes long, it had just the right mix of triumphant jingoism, bullish showmanship and music – actually nearly two-thirds of it was a concert by Duran Duran – although the singing frankly wasn’t great, even if the songs were so evocative.


Why Duran Duran? Because both the little Mazda roadster and the pop band rose to prominence in the 1980s – sort of. Actually Duran Duran formed in 1978 and the MX-5 was launched in 1989, but they were there mainly, and by his own admission, because Director of Design, Derek Jenkins, was a big fan and wanted them on.


In fact Jenkins stole the show. He had the right mix of confidence and humour, he immediately gelled directly with the (undoubtedly hand-picked and pre-excited) audience, and he kept his presentation short and engaging – here’s the car, it’s all new, it’s better, isn’t it great? Yep! Right then, onto the music!


#LongLiveTheRoadster – even the hashtag was clever, if a bit long, more a glorification of the concept of the car, rather than the car itself. And it’s a genuinely wonderful little roadster too the new Mada MX-5 Miata – read about here. Sadly we’re not likely to see this before 2016, and probably later in that year, if indeed we see it at all. The truth is that Mazda in the Middle East see it as a low-volume proposition and frankly aren’t interested in promoting or marketing it here.

Duran Duran

Such a shame, because we really think this could give the Toyota 86/Subaru BRZ a run for their money as an affordable and genuinely satisfying-to-drive compact sports car. If you think Mazda ME is wrong, you’d better kick up a fuss now. Meanwhile watch the best of the three presentations right here.

Meanwhile we’ll stay tuned to see which manufacturer will go the live-streaming route for a car launch next. Follow us on our Facebook page (make sure you hover over the ‘Liked’ button and click on ‘Get Notifications’ to make sure you don’t miss a thing we post!) – 

So who did you think had the best live-streamed webcasted car launch of the week? Let us know below!

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