This column will be about car models and their high cost.
But not Chevy Camaros, Maseratis or even the Lamborghini Centenario.
This is about models with names like Nicole, Sara, Caroline, Meghan and hundreds more who last week wore very tight dresses and high heels and talked about one of the roughly 1,000 cars at the New York International Auto Show.
These are more than just a bunch of pretty faces. They are experts on their specific car — and are able to talk with any of the more than 1 million New York auto show attendees about chassis, thrust and any other auto part that is a double entendre.
If you are looking for someone to object to this sort of behavior, I’m going to disappoint you.
The women, as I said, are all well-equipped to talk cars — having gone to school on the technical stuff. And some guys might even be listening to what they have to say.
Entertaining the attendees is exactly what any car company worth its four wheels is aiming at. And that’s why the companies spend millions of dollars a year on these beautiful female “accoutrements.”
“It’s a great gig. It pays well,” says Meghan Tarmey, who had worked the auto show circuit for five years before founding her own New York City company called the Caddy Girls, which provides — you guessed it — beautiful caddies for high-end golf tournaments.
Tarmey says women can earn anywhere from $250 to over $1,000 a day working auto shows, depending on the brand they are representing. “The higher the price of the car, the better the pay.”
You may not know this if you are particularly New York-centric, but each year there are 66 auto shows — 41 of which are international in nature — run by Auto Shows of North America.
It’s like a traveling circus and, while some of the show dates overlap, it is possible for some models to work 18 of the larger shows during the car show season — which stretches from the Miami show in September to the grand finale, New York, in mid-April.
That’s a total of 96 days, meaning it is possible for the better-paid models to earn nearly six figures — or the price of a gently used Bentley.
Abeba Davis is another of the “product specialists” — one of the terms the auto companies insist that the women use when talking to customers (and journalists). Davis, who’s working for Infiniti, is extremely discreet about how much she makes, which is OK since I won’t tell her my salary either.
But she will say that the perks are great. In addition to bolstering her modeling and acting portfolio — which already includes Pepsi and other print ads — Davis says the car companies treat them well. “They take care of your travel, your expenses and your wardrobe.”
In the case of two models — er, “specialists” — working the Alfa Romeo display, that includes dresses shipped straight from Italian designers.
The carmakers don’t like to talk about their models (the women, not the cars) or the costs associated with this marketing maneuver.
They also won’t discuss why male models are seldom used. After all, 51 percent of attendees at the 2016 New York auto show were women.
“[The models] aren’t all women,” said a spokesman for General Motors. “We have men presenting as well.”
OK, OK. Back off. I said I don’t care.
And “we aren’t going to talk about budget,” this GM rep added. In fact, GM wouldn’t talk about anything since its auto show manager never got back to me.
But that’s OK. Others know the secrets of the women who do this kind of work.
Chris Hanna, who with his wife, Caryn, owns TSM Agency, provides a lot of “car show girls” as well as models for trade shows, auto races and anywhere else a pretty woman is deemed necessary.
Hanna says auto companies can spend thousands a week for “top tier” women for each show, especially since the models often work in teams of up to 24. Each one gets her own car — to promote, not to own— which she knows fender to fender.
“They spend a lot money on this. More than the average person would think,” Hanna says.
Just look at the TSM Agency Web site — www.tsmagency.com — and you’ll not only see how above-average the models are but, more important, you’ll also notice how many women want to caress cars at these shows.
There is one blemish on this pretty picture.
While it’s not quite a disaster yet, carmakers have been having a rough spell of late. March vehicle sales fell below expectations, and unsold inventories at companies like GM are rising faster than some experts think is healthy.
While this isn’t likely to knock the car models out of their pumps, some experts think they’ll end up on a fiscal diet.
Already the automakers are using women who live in the cities where the exhibits are being held to cut down on travel costs.
And some models are sharing Airbnb accommodations because the snazzy.