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5 months ago

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Dr Ulrich Eichhorn | Engineer


8 December 2023

In his excellent article on automotive spy shots and their grandmasters Hans Lehmann and Jim Dunne, James Mills shed light on how spy shots are captured and distributed by photographers, their staff and middlemen, and consumed by the media and, sometimes, competitors to the unwitting manufacturer in front of the lens.

It’s therefore fair to imagine that all car makers have a universal hatred of spy shots being published or seen by rivals. But as someone who’s worked in and led the engineering departments of Ford, Bentley and across the VW Group, and whose projects have therefore been seen quite a lot before their official launch date, I can tell you the truth is rather more complex.

On the downside there are two specific ways in which spy shots are damaging, both fairly obvious: they can harm sales of the current production model, because nobody’s going to buy a car if they know its replacement is just around the corner, and they allow competitors to react sooner to your new model. But they have their benefits too, of which more in a moment.

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