LUCA CIFERRI

How I beat Sergio Marchionne to the Beijing auto show

Luca Ciferri is Automotive News Europe's chief correspondentLuca Ciferri is Automotive News Europe's chief correspondent
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I am pretty quick to complain so I thought that I gained a lot of new material this morning because of the rough trip from my hotel to the opening of the Beijing auto show. It turns out I got to the show with fewer delays than Fiat-Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne's police-escorted motorcade.

My journey did not start well. Two taxi drivers refused to take me because they said the show was too far away. Thankfully, the third driver felt that my trip was worth his effort so we started our journey. But the driver had trouble deciding where we had to go because the show is at a new location.

I was really worried for about 40 minutes because I had no idea if we were heading in the right direction. There was no way to successfully communicate with the driver so I just sat silently and trust blindly.

Finally, some Toyota Yaris billboard ads started to appear, giving me hope that were heading in the right direction.

I soon learned that my 45-minute, 85-yuan (10.20-euro) taxi ride was among the fastest and most economical trips of the morning. It took some colleagues two to three hours to get to the show. Even Marchionne got stuck, forcing him to arrive in the middle of the press conference to unveil Fiat's new car for China, the Fiat Viaggio compact sedan (a derivative of the Dodge Dart sold in North America).

Many thanks, unknown Beijing taxi driver. You provided superb service at a very reasonable price. However, if you would like a bit of free advice on how to further improve customer satisfaction, then please buy a new set of shocks for your aging VW sedan.

You can reach Luca Ciferri at lciferri@crain.com.

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