The Morgan Motor Company
Morgan at the Pebble Beach Concours d'elegance
2010 Diary of events
Pebble Beach 2010
This year Morgan Motor Company attended the prestigious 2010 Pebble Beach Concours and surrounding events in Monterey, CA. There were three major objectives for the week:
1. To display and promote the Aero SuperSports to the U.S. market.
2. To launch the Morgan EvaGT concept car at one of the world’s most important car festivals in front of an international audience of car connoisseurs.
3. To promote the Morgan brand with its unique values and provoke worldwide media coverage and improve U.S. customer and dealer relations.
This report highlights the events and assesses the effectiveness of the week's activities.
Preparation: Morgan Motor Company was one of the main sponsors of Pebble Beach Concours and the responsibility of organizing the week's events and the logistics of making it all happen and getting the EvaGt concept car ready for the show was the responsibility of Morgan Design. Liaising with the events organizers we made a point of taking a couple of the more influential organizers for drinks. This resulted in prime placement of the EvaGT concept car on the launch day. We had a better position than all the other concept cars including Jaguar.
The concept car itself was finished to an extremely high standard. The model machined direct from the computer aided design from the material, Ureal, looked very professional and completely realistic thanks to “production” quality paintwork and accurate details such as functional suspension, brakes and headlights. The vehicle was created affordably but was extremely convincing and could be taken as a finished production car apart from the lack of interior. Even so many people peered in to the glass expecting to see a dashboard and seats! The Morgan factory engineers and painters did a fantastic job realizing the final outcome.
The week's events: After flying out from London very early Monday morning (9th August 2010) Matt Humphries and I arrived in San Francisco and collected our Chevrolet Impala hire car which was a perfect example of American automotive engineering (down to cost). However this hire car was (typically) huge and proved invaluable for moving around all the brochures, banners, cleaning kits, signage and components to the many events throughout the week.
The first event was the Monterey Jet Centre display hosted by Gordon McCall. This event is a superb way to kick off the week. The jet centre party is a prestigious cocktail party with a VIP list of people invited to view and buy private Jets which are parked up and displayed on the airfield. The gusts all have a seriously wealthy and fashionable lifestyle. The event was impressively organized with great local catering.
Here we exhibited our first two US production Morgan SuperSports. Promotion of the SuperSports was the primary objective of the week. Our cars looked superb polished in the sunset under spotlight. The response was incredible. Dennis Glavis, our US dealer, Charles and Kiera Morgan, Matt Humphries and myself spent the evening talking to everybody who was interested in the car. People were fascinated to hear about the inspiration behind the design and the reasons for the way it looks. A lot of people seemed un-aware of the unique and desirable way in which we craft our cars.
To hear directly from the design team about the car was a powerful marketing tool. Dennis Glavis was on hand to process orders. The evening flew by talking to people about the car's specifications. Immediately, it was obvious that Morgan made a huge impact on people who have become somewhat blasé about other (generic) sports cars out there.
Up early the next morning to dismantle the jet centre display and begin preparations for the Quail event on the Friday 11thAugust 2010. All the Morgans had to be moved and re polished and cleaned up. We set up the stand for the event at a beautiful golf resort. After collecting what we needed and transporting cars we had to set up the show stand hanging banners within an open fronted tent. Last year our display lacked a little professionalism. But we amended that this year by reusing our dramatic banner from the Milan show and adorning the display with fashionable leather seating and glass coffee tables. This furniture was later to prove very valuable as it meant there was a constant crowd of people at our stand who were able to sit and relax in a nice environment surrounded by Morgan brochures and Morgan publicity.
Seeing the classic and historic cars arrive for set up at this beautiful event reminds you of the affluence and wealth associated with this area of the USA. I think it is safe to say that there is no other week on earth that celebrates the history of automotive design and manufacture with this level of wealth and finesse.
That evening we were invited to the Jaguar party. Jaguar was the lead sponsor of the Pebble Beach concours and as a result hosted the largest gathering of the important people associated with the week. This function gave us the chance to mingle and befriend the 'people to know'. We used 'British charm' to get noticed and attract the attention of all the media and press present resulting in many scheduled interviews and publicity opportunities. Without yet attending one of the week's biggest events Matt and myself had already distributed a box of business cards each! Most importantly, at these social events we were able to talk passionately and enthusiastically about the company and the future intentions for the brand to many interested people.
At Friday show, The Quail, the Morgan was again incredibly popular. A lot of people said ' the SuperSports was the most beautiful car on display'. Once again there was a shortage of tickets this year. However there were 2000 potential customers attending who had paid $300 a ticket. We spent the whole day talking about the design. Many people said we talked very passionately about the car with great enthusiasm and I think that this provided a personal touch that you wouldn't get from talking to a sales rep. With keen celebrity attention, great interest and enjoyment from everyone and massive press attention, the car was very popular at the event. Dennis was again on hand for most of the day to close deals and to ensure that the follow up of any enquiries would took place. The setting was stunning and the sun was shining which made the car look incredible. Again, it was another perfect setting for a luxury open top sports car.
The other cars on display were amazing although we had little time to walk around due to the constant attention the Morgan SuperSports was receiving. We spent a long time discussing and concluding that Morgan is unlike any other brand and benefits because of this. We have an amazing and unique 'D.N.A' that sets us apart from other car brands. Everyone agrees we must conserve this and ensure future design doesn't become 'generic', and too similar to what everyone else is doing. I think the understanding of this is apparent in the design language of the EvaGT.
There is a natural honesty to the design of EvaGT and the car uses quality materials which will develop a patina with age. The focus of the design is on light weight and minimalism whilst the car keeps an exhilarating “long-bonnet” proportion and an impressive view from the cockpit over the front wings. The car looks modern and fast but importantly has that 'timeless' iconic look similar to the classic Morgan cars.
The SuperSports is somewhat different. Everyone loves the drama of this car and suggests that it is extravagant and elegant yet it also has the capacity to be a “bad boy”. The personalization and customisation options combined with the exciting lines separate the car from all else.
That evening after the Quail event was one of the most important events during the week, the display of the EvaGT to Eric Sturdza. Eric has a huge collection of Morgans and has been a great ambassador of the Morgan Motor Company since the launch of the Morgan Aero Eight. Matt Humphries managed to secure the use of a famous photographer's studio to show off the car. After the Quail event, the EvaGT was taken to this studio located on a secure private airfield.
The car was professionally 'lit' and raised onto a plinth in an otherwise blacked out room. Eric and family arrived escorted by Charles and after being allowed on to the airfield through an electronically secured gate, they were led into the massive silent hanger. The car, covered in black silk, stood in the centre under a professional lighting rig...It was perfect automotive theatre! We pulled the sheet back to energetic applause and many 'ooohs', 'aaaahs' and amazed comments. Eric and family were absolutely delighted. To quote ' ....the most incredible car I have ever known......I have never been more excited about a car in all my life.......all my expectations have been exceeded extremely....when can I get one?' To know the client was ecstatic and to see the car in an environment like this was extremely rewarding and a wonderful compliment to the months of hard work by everyone.
The photographer, Michael Furman, then did a professional 'shoot' of the car. He is considered one of the world's best automotive photographers.
Saturday was busy. It consisted of a long day running about getting everything set up and ready for the main event at Pebble beach concours on the Sunday, getting the EvaGT concept car in place on the concept lawn and also a special Morgan only concours for owners and their cars at the historic Carmel mission. In the afternoon we were to host a special unveiling of the Morgan EvaGT to the world’s press.
In the morning Charles Morgan, his wife, Kiera, and his son, Xan Morgan, together with chief designer Matt Humphries attended the beautiful setting of the Carmel Mission for the first Carmel Mission Morgan Concours. Located in nearby Carmel on Sea, the Mission was established in 1770 by Father Junipero Serra and remains an extremely popular landmark and a functioning chapel to this day. It is easy to see why. The gorgeous well preserved buildings are framed by mountainous surroundings and the rugged Californian coastline. In the centre courtyard around the working fountain was a collection of Morgan cars that were to be judged by Matt and Charles. You could not imagine a more picturesque setting full of historical artifacts and spiritual tranquillity. This was very rewarding occasion for all who attended and the winners of the concours were Ben and Bob La Mar with their Morgan Plus Four. Refreshments were laid on and the morning was very enjoyable. The Mission would be delighted to have us return next year and the Morgan only event found its way into some of the week's event programmes and the local papers. This provided great publicity for the brand but also importantly, was a great way of looking after our existing Morgan customers and enthusiasts and encouraging many beautiful Morgans come to Carmel for the car festival. A dashboard plaque was given to all who attended.
Whilst Matt and Charles were at the Carmel Mission I was at the Pebble beach resort moving the EvaGT into place. Weighing over two tons (Ureal is certainly not aluminium!) and with limited steering, moving the car around and into place was difficult. To get the car into place we employed the use of a flat bed tow truck. The car was then detailed and covered with a sheet ready for the press launch at 3.00pm on Saturday 14thAugust 2010.
At 3.00pm around 200 members of the press, media and concours organisation gathered to see the EvaGTlaunched to the world for the first time. Throughout the week we had been inviting various people attending all the different events and parties and it paid off and with a massive crowd. Charles Morgan introduced Matt Humphries who said a few words before the sheet was pulled off and the car was revealed.
An explosion of applause confirmed that people liked what they saw. This was a relief as present were some of the world’s most authoritative automotive critics and writers. We then spent two hours discussing the car with press and photographers before we had to leave for the Morgan cocktail party.
Saturday evening was spent at Charles Morgan's stunning rented chalet, Point Lobos Ridge House. A short yet sophisticated private cocktail party included many important guests including renowned painters, actors and photographers, existing customers and several people that had expressed serious interest in Morgans that we had invited during the week so far. This was a nice way of involving current and prospective customers with the brand and gave us the opportunity to talk more personally to guests and customers about Morgan. Everybody said it was fantastic to be able talk to the design team and how it was great to see how young and passionate we were. Many more business cards were exchanged.
Matt and I then took Dennis Glavis and his wife Pamela for dinner to thank them for their contribution to the week.
Sunday - the main event, The Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance. Another very early start ensured that the EvaGT was all polished and ready for the day. Morgan had rented 'Suite 100' at the golf lodge for the week. It is situated in the most desirable location over looking the prizegiving lawn for the concours and directly by the sea. This space gave us somewhere to set up camp, talk personally to invited guests and potential customers, to store and give out literature and maintain a strong Morgan presence at the event.
With everything set up we also assumed position by the concept car at the practise putting green and the main public entrance to the concours. We began welcoming some of the 150,000 international car lovers that came to the event.
The Pebble Beach Concours attracts car enthusiasts and VIPs as well as some of the world's most important and influential motoring press. The whole day celebrates the rarest and most beautiful examples of automotive design in the world. Winning the top prize can triple the value of a historic car. The event is a charitable one, this year raising over $1 million for selected charities. Alongside the historic vehicle display, there are multiple awards given out and presented by celebrities like Jay Leno and Arnold Schwarzenegger who both on the concept car lawn both complimented Matt on the design of the Morgan EvaGT. The councours runs throughout the day with 150 cars in several categories and classes. A panel of experts supported by honorary judges marks the cars. Charles Morgan was one of the honorary judges this year. This demonstrates that Morgan is a well respected marque at this event. One of the main attractions of the day is the 'Concept Car' lawn on the immaculate Pebble Beach putting green which provides the opportunity for vehicle manufacturers to display their latest concept cars and advertise their brands future intentions. This is where the Eva GT was displayed.
The Eva GT could not have been received better. People where blown away by the fact Morgan were exhibiting a modern practical vehicle suitable for a young family. Without bias, we can safely say that the Morgan was one of, if not the, strongest concept there. Obviously some of the cars on display included full interior and were very highly engineered and finalized, but even the multi million pound development of the other cars on display lacked the drama and passion apparent in the EvaGT's styling. The car looked stunning and when people discovered the original and passionate way in which Morgan cars are hand crafted they where simply blown away.
Feed back included the common statement; '....car of the show.....'
One of the most rewarding types of feedback came from other car designers present at the event. Jaguar lead designer Ian Callum and Ford lead designer Freeman Thomas were among the many reputable and acclaimed designers to commend the Morgan showing that we are on the right track.
With a whole day of press interviews, and talking about the car, time flew by. Back in blighty we learnt that we had made centre page spreads in many of the English papers including the ‘Sun' newspaper. Without mentioning the thousands foreign publications, we are also in every major UK motoring magazine; Autocar, Top gear, Evo, Octane etc. A Google search on line for 'EvaGT' returns over 3,500,000 hits!
Advertisement and publicity like this alone justifies the week’s expense when you consider a single page dealer ad a small publication can cost in excess of a thousand pound. The week has also generated car sales in the US through Morgan West, and the £5000 deposits taken on EvaGT stood at over 50 three weeks later. With the world wide publicity this week provided, the brand is sure to be put on the map.
Jon Wells, Morgan Design