Ramen for reporters: Volkswagen cancels Media Night, tonight, and for the future

Where's the party? Stood up by VW at the Meiji Kinenkan

Where’s the party? Stood up by VW at the Meiji Kinenkan

It is Tuesday morning in Tokyo. Tomorrow, Wednesday, the Tokyo Motor Show will open its doors at the Big Sight in Odaiba to the media. Tonight, the always hungry and thirsty members of the Fifth Estate will be sedated with heavy doses of sake and tempura, administered all over town at dinner parties by the world’s (and especially Japan’s) big automakers. Those who are on the guest list of Volkswagen will suffer dry mouth and empty stomach. VW canceled its traditional auto show pre-party, a harbinger of lean times to come.

The Meiji Kinenkan in the gardens of the Meiji Shrine is one of Tokyo’s fanciest banquet venues. Tonight, it houses a rarity: An available banquet hall. Volkswagen killed its Tokyo Motor Show pre-party at short notice.

According to Volkswagen’s hallway radio, this will not be an isolated event, as future car shows will have to do without Volkswagen’s Media Night, a lavish bash designed to anesthetize the most important members of said media. The Media Night falls victim to Volkswagen’s post-dieselgate “Savings at all costs” strategy, the hallway radio says. “Volkswagen has to watch every penny, and can’t afford lavish parties” a contact at Volkswagen told the Dailykanban. “Lubricated loose tongues around reporters we can afford even less.”

Despite VW’s new austerity program, reporters won’t have to resort to ramen noodles, as long as they have the important right connections. The Renault/Nissan Alliance lays on a fancy dinner with all of its executives tonight, and it will make the dinner party a standard fixture at all future car shows. As it just so happens, tonight’s Alliance party is at the same Meiji Kinenkan, where it was booked long before Volkswagen bailed.

Tonight is all sold out. Orphaned Media Night attendants are recommended to suck up to Nissan’s new PR chief Jonathan Adashek, or straight with the Alliance’s Rachel Konrad, for future consideration.

Standard disclaimer: Hallway radio reports reflect the current buzz of Volkswagen’s internal rumor mill, and as such the reports are not always correct. No responsibility is taken for the correctness of this information. However, the radio has a very high batting average, so far, at least.