Will traditional motor shows vanish?

Goodwood 1
Unique presentations aided by the unique setting of the Goodwood Festival of Speed Picture credit: Wikimedia

MOTOR SHOWS across the world are struggling to re-invent themselves. With many major brands choosing to sit them out in favour of creating their own experiences for new car launches or attending alternative shows.

The Frankfurt Motor Show 2017 is currently underway, but noticeable only by their absence are Alfa Romeo, DS, Fiat, Infiniti, Jeep, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Peugeot and Volvo. This biannual event alternates with the Paris Motor Show, which in 2016 also saw well known automakers decline to exhibit with Mazda, Ford and Volvo deciding to focus on other ways of engaging with their customers.  This trend is not just limited to Europe, with a number of car brands including Mini, Tesla and Jaguar Land Rover deciding not to attend the Detroit Motor Show last year.

The Mini spokeswoman at the time stated  “Part of the new brand strategy is focusing on selected auto shows and an increased engagement with events that increase Mini’s access to other relevant target groups.” Ford decided to instead focus on the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Volvo have stated they want to put greater focus on direct-to-consumer marketing.

More traditional alternatives to the standard motor shows include the Goodwood Festival of Speed, a major international event that has only been running since 1993. It´s focus on the history and the pinnacle of motorsports along with the physical location at the Goodwood Estate in West Sussex gives the automakers a unique backdrop to promote their brands. “The manufacturers are very keen to find different ways of showing their products and we’ve been part of that change”  said the owner and organiser of the Goodwood Estate.

This wish to provide more unique and focused events is backed up by the numbers. It´s been reported that Renault spent only $1.3 million attending Goodwood last year. Which although a sizable chunk of any marketing budget is estimated to be a third of what they would have spent attending one of the more traditional motor shows. These figures will be broadly reflected across the industry, so it not difficult to see why there is this move away from the traditional motor shows.

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