Are we witnessing disintegration, or a metamorphosis?

We’ve all heard it before – the auto show isn’t long for this world. As high costs, new technology, and a shift in consumer interest continues to chip away at this standard-bearer event of the industry, it’s impossible not to hear the critics cry out that the sky is falling. Indeed, there are few trends that warrant a raised eyebrow. Take the decline in automaker participation at traditionally well-attended shows like Frankfurt, which this year won’t see the likes of Alfa Romeo, Jeep, Fiat, Nissan, Infiniti, and Peugeot, among others. Then you have an automaker like Tesla, which seems to shirk any and all connections to the industry status quo, including auto shows. So the question is this – will the auto show format we know today cease to be?

Here’s my take – yes and no. There’s no denying that the industry is changing very rapidly, and auto shows have to keep pace in order to stay relevant. Hence the huge influx of tech like virtual reality booths, app integration, and live streaming debuts that we’re seeing, all of which are immediately obvious reactions to the changes currently taking place.

So where are we headed? Long story short, into uncharted waters. The model for showing off cars and getting consumers engaged is headed towards more accessibility, more customization, and more hands-on experience, all of which an auto show can provide, given the right prep. After all, until we’ve all got a holodeck in the basement, there are still plenty of things to experience outside the confines of a glowing computer screen.

Major automakers will likely continue to participate in these annual events, but innovation is needed to evolve the format. Behind-the-wheel driving and ride-alongs will surely continue to draw the crowds, as will advanced VR and opportunities to meet industry super stars.

So don’t worry, the auto show isn’t going anywhere, it’s probably just gonna get a little smaller and look a little different, not to mention get a whole lot more interesting.


2018 Bentley Continental GT High Resolution Exterior
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Read more new about the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show.

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