Increasing costs and new marketing trends makes auto shows less appealing to automakers

Auto shows such as those in Detroit, Paris, Frankfurt, and Geneva usually gather round tens of manufacturers that are looking to showcase their latest vehicles and products. However, while auto shows were also a place where companies used to sell cars back in the day, nowadays large traffic at vehicle stands doesn’t necessarily translate into sales. Consumers spend more time looking at cars on their computers and smartphones, and many would rather attend all sorts of programs that allow them to drive the vehicles they want to purchase. This, paired with the fact that auto show booths cost millions of dollars to set up, have prompted some manufacturers to skip this year’s Paris Motor Show.

According to Automotive News, no fewer than four major companies have declined to join the event. For instance, Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer said that while new cars and technology benefit from the attention they get at auto shows, sometimes there are "better ways of doing it than just always spending money on show after show after show." Ford and Rolls-Royce also seem to agree, as both companies have decided to skip the 2016 Paris Motor Show, which will likely be the year’s largest car show in terms of attendance. Volvo is yet another brand that won’t be in Paris, but the Swedish manufacturer has announced its plans to skip most shows and market its products more directly to buyers a couple of years ago.

Even automakers that will set camp in Paris are revising their strategies. "The world is continuously changing," a Lamborghini spokesman told the aforementioned outlet, adding that the supercar company "intends to anticipate these changes."

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Why it Matters

Although no fewer than four major automakers will be missing this year’s Paris Motor Show, that’s not to say auto shows will become extinct in the near future. The event in Paris has been drawing crowds of more than one million, and most companies won’t let that slip past them and will at least try to make the best of it. But while some enthusiasts, and even customers, still consider auto shows as the ultimate car experience, shoppers are slowly but surely moving away from crowded booths, taking the Internet route and selecting events that aren’t as packed and that offer comprehensive driving experiences.

Automakers are aware of that, and while the majority are still attending auto shows, some have decided to skip a few or simply showcase their products in different way. Volvo, for instance, is moving its operations onto the Interwebz, while Rolls-Royce is putting together all sorts of exotic events, like the one in Porto Cervo bay in Sardinia, Italy this summer, where the British company treated fans to test drives and fashion exhibition. Granted, shifting strategies and hosting ritzy events is indeed expensive, but likely not as expensive as erecting a temporary booth at major auto shows, which can cost in excess of $10 million.

Source: Automotive News

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