Cutting costs and new marketing strategies are the reasons behind the decision to stay home

The Volkswagen Group has announced that two of its premium brands, Bentley and Lamborghini, are skipping the 2016 Paris Motor Show next week in an attempt to cut spending to help soften the blow of the costs it is incurring stemming from the diesel emissions scandal.

The exit of Bentley and Lamborghini comes a week after other brands announced their intention to skip the show. Aston Martin, Ford, and Rolls-Royce, and Volvo also won’t be attending the event for various reasons, including cost-cutting, revised auto show strategies, and in Volvo’s case, changing business priorities. The two VW brands are touting similar reasons for dropping out of the event. Bentley, for instance, said that it would put its focus on attending smaller auto shows where it can market its products more directly to its clientele. For its part, Lamborghini is adopting a similar strategy of picking its spots more carefully in the future, including attending auto shows in strategic locations where the market for its performance cars are the strongest.

The mass withdrawal among automakers that have been regular attendees at the Paris Motor Show can be attributed to a number of different reasons. Bentley and Lamborghini, in addition to their own specific reasons, are both tied into the affairs of the Volkswagen Group, which is still reeling from the diesel emissions scandal that has cost the conglomerate hundreds of millions of dollars. Add that to the enormous costs of simply attending an auto show as high-profile as Paris and the decision to skip the event in an effort to save some money is a prudent choice to make.

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Consider this as a sign of things to come

On the surface, the reasons behind Bentley and Lamborghini skipping the Paris Motor Show are clear-cut. Volkswagen’s tied up in the one of the biggest scandals to hit the auto industry and it’s paying a steep price for it to go with the collateral damage that comes with it. But if you think about it, these decisions by automakers to skip a major auto show could also be seen as a sign of things to come. I don’t think the current landscape of auto shows will change permanently, but it won’t be the same because a lot of these brands are figuring out cheaper and more efficient ways to get their products across without having to spend a lot of money on auto shows.

Volvo already talked about that shift a few years ago when it announced its plan to dramatically decrease its presence in auto shows and focus more directly to buyers. Other companies like Ford and Aston Martin have joined in as the continued modernization of the world has provided new avenues for these brands to showcase their products without getting tied up to the costs that come with bringing these products to specific locations around the world just so a lot of people can take pictures of them and post them on their social media accounts. There are cheaper and more efficient ways of doing that now, including web-based events and blogs, while still getting the same kind of attention as these brands would’ve gotten in an auto show.

Obviously, there’s a bigger reason in play for Bentley and Lamborghini here but even without the emissions scandal affecting its mother brand, there’s a good chance that these decisions would have been made anyway. It’s especially more important considering that both automakers are niche brands that cater to specific clienteles. Granted, don’t expect Bentley and Lamborghini to completely give up on making the auto show rounds. I fully expect both brands to show up in major shows like Detroit, Geneva, and Frankfurt.

But the days of going all-in on these events appear to be winding down as these brands are becoming a lot more open to the showcasing their models through other means, most of which won’t cost them more than what they would’ve spent attending these auto shows.

Source: Reuters

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