The numbers don’t lie...

In the grand scheme of things, the ink hasn’t even dried on the announcements from BMW and Mercedes to skip the 2019 Detroit Auto Show. And, yet, here we are looking at an announcement from Audi saying it, too, will skip the 2019 North American International Auto Show. According to automakers, it has come too expensive and, with venues like CES drawing larger crowds and largely overshadowing the Detroit Auto Show, it only makes sense to skip the show. In the meantime, Detroit organizers have been looking to move the official date of the show, but that won’t happen until at least 2020. But, are automakers pulling out because of the associated cost and lack of crowd, or do they just hate America and Detroit?

The Local Audi, BMW, and Mercedes Dealers Will Pay

2010 Audi E-Tron Detroit Showcar Exterior Computer Renderings and Photoshop Wallpaper quality
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Detroit has a lot of American Spirit and a lot of folks in Detroit don’t want anything to do with German cars

I have personally covered the Detroit Auto Show as a journalist for many years, and I have to admit the Audi, BMW, and Mercedes booths don’t really get too much attention. Well, outside of the Asian crowd, anyway. And, I swear, that’s not a racist thing. If you happen to go on a press day, you’ll see the German booths constantly packed with folks from Asia. But, that’s not the point, the point is that Detroit has a lot of American Spirit and a lot of folks in Detroit don’t want anything to do with German cars. They love their Chevys and their Fords. Hell, even the Chrysler booths are more populated half of the time, and nobody likes FCA outside of the Jeep and Fiat brands.

With that in mind, it’s not surprising to see the big German three pull out. There are, in all honestly, competing with the big American three on their home turf – that’s a tough thing to do. Who really suffers, however, are the Audi, BMW, and Mercedes dealers in the vicinity of the Cobo Center. When the doors open to the public and all those people with money to spend walk end, they find something they want and end up hitting the dealer the next week. Say what you want, but BMW, Audi, and Mercedes sales for that period will suffer without a presence at the show.

The Germans Don’t Hate America, Just Detroit

2017 Audi Q8 E-tron Concept High Resolution Exterior AutoShow
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Public attendance at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show: 809,161, including 5078 journalists from 60 different countries

I’m not buying the “bigger crowds” excuse from any of these automakers. Let’s look at the numbers. Public attendance at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show: 809,161, including 5078 journalists from 60 different countries. CES public attendance: 0. That’s right, CES is a trade-only show, so the general public isn’t even invited. For what it’s worth, CES claims there was a total of 184,279 people in attendance during the 2018 show. That’s just 22-percent of the people that actually attended the Detroit Auto Show.

You could argue that there are a lot more journalists at the CES show, and while there are more journalists, it’s not a groundbreaking difference. CES says the 2018 show saw a total of 7,460 journalists while 2018 NAIAS had 5078. So, there were some 2,300 more journalists at CES. That’s a valid argument, but the CES is a Consumer Electronics Show so how many of those journalists were there for the electronics and not any of the cars on display? I’m willing to bet a good half of them are there for tech-only coverage and could care less about the cars in attendance.

So, with that in mind, I have no choice but to say that the Germans just hate Detroit. We American’s don’t really appreciate the same sausage different length approach, and the German three just can’t keep up with their American competitors in the car city of America.

References

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Read more Detroit Auto Show news.

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2018 CES Attendance Numbers

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2018 Detroit Auto Show Attendance Numbers

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