After a three-year hiatus, the Detroit auto show has returned this week, though in a smaller format than previous years.
- Once one of the largest auto shows of the year, the North American International Auto Show has noticeably fewer participants this season as many auto retailers sat out this week’s event, reflecting the changing ways auto dealers connect with customers.
- Dealers bypassed the show in part due to declining general attendance and a preference to focus their marketing budgets on more successful material.
- Others aren’t looking for additional customers as they already struggle to keep enough inventory due to supply chain disruptions.
- Fifteen automakers have announced plans to attend the show, a drop from 24 attendees in 2019—the last time the show was held in Detroit.
- Chrysler, Jeep, and Ford Motor are among the companies planning new vehicle reveals.
Why it’s news
The decline of the North American International Auto Show is another example of changing markets in the aftermath of Covid-19. Auto shows had already been in decline pre-pandemic, but changes in how prospective buyers shop may have slowed enthusiasm.
Vehicle brands have shifted much of their marketing to social media and many buyers now use the internet to avoid visiting dealerships. Viewing a car in person before a purchase isn’t important to buyers as it once was.
Companies have also found greater success either hosting their own events in person or holding virtual car shows.
Some shows are changing their approach to bring in more audiences. Elon Musk has led the way with eye-catching shows and other companies are following his approach, reports The Wall Street Journal.
The Detroit show does have a few tricks up its sleeve to make things more interesting. For instance, rather than stage reveals, the show will focus on experiences like test drives and demonstrations of air taxis.
President Joe Biden is also expected to attend the event and speak to attendees about his support for electric vehicles.
The auto show will take place September 14-25.