SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Nation/World

January 18, 2014

Auto shows do more for women, lean toward men

(Continued)

Mercedes-Benz calls the presenters “product specialists,” not models, says Donna Boland, manager of U.S. corporate communications. Boland said the company hires all kinds of people, including a pregnant woman who is working at the Smart exhibit this year.

“We don’t pander to the lowest common denominator,” Boland said. “We want everybody to be able to see themselves as a Mercedes owner.”

Teckla Rhoads, GM’s director of global industrial design, has male and female models wearing yellow T-shirts and Converse sneakers near the youthful Chevrolet Spark, but puts women in sexier dresses next to the Corvette.

“It’s not gratuitous. It’s to help reinforce what that vehicle is,” she said. “That’s not to say that a 6-foot tall woman in a tight dress isn’t going to be really attention-getting. We get that. But there’s also a spirit of fun about it.”

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