While female models have been a staple of auto shows, the publication reports a number of companies are using product specialists instead of attractive women in skimpy dresses. This has been a trend for awhile but it appears the upcoming Geneva Motor Show will be even more conservative than in the past.
According to the report, Toyota and Nissan are among the companies that won’t use scantily clad women to showcase their latest products. As Nissan spokeswoman Sara Jenkins explained, “Times have changed” and “It makes more sense to use product specialists because we’re selling cars.”
While Italian brands have previously embraced female models, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles reportedly canceled several contracts with models over concerns about being criticized for using them. The company will still have women at their exhibits but they will apparently be joined by more men than in the past.
When reached for comment, Groupe PSA spokesman Pierre-Oliver Salmon told Bloomberg “Visitors to the Geneva Auto Show will be welcomed on the PSA booth by male and female hosts whose mission will be to inform them.” He added, the company “won’t convey a degrading image of anyone.”
A spokesperson for the Geneva Motor Show said exhibitors are free to present their products however they choose but it’s clear a number of companies are being sensitive about the issue of sexism. While the movement might have started off in Hollywood, it recently touched the automotive industry as Ford executive vice president and president of North America, Raj Nair, was forced out after an internal investigation into reports of inappropriate behavior.
Ford has declined to reveal the circumstances that lead to his departure but Ford CEO Jim Hackett said the company is “deeply committed to providing and nurturing a safe and respectful culture and we expect our leaders to fully uphold these values.”