It’s hip to skip.
Opel and Vauxhall are following several other automakers by skipping the 2018 Paris Motor Show, which kicks off next month. The two automakers’ announcement, owned by France's PSA Group, is just the latest in a long line of auto show skips that have become more frequent over the last few years. Other automakers skipping Paris include Aston Martin, Bentley, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Ford, Lamborghini, Mazda, McLaren, Mitsubishi, Nissan, and Rolls-Royce.
“We made the decision to put a stronger emphasis on our own events for the upcoming product launches,” an Opel/Vauxhall spokesman told Automotive News Europe. He said Opel would return to shows “when it makes business and communications sense,” according to Automotive News.
Why are so many automakers deciding to skip high-profile auto shows? Paris claims over one million people attended along with 10,000 journalists – and that's a lot of eyes. But automakers don’t want to spend the money to compete with other automakers for journalists’ attention. Often, smaller tidbits of corporate and product news get lost in the sheer volume of auto show news. And if there’s a huge reveal, like the Ford GT during the 2015 Detroit Auto Show, all other news is buried.
Automakers around the world are skipping out on large auto shows. Audi, Mercedes, and BMW are skipping the 2019 Detroit Auto Show, for example. Instead, automakers are focusing on individual and private events where journalists have time to digest product news and ask questions. They’re also focusing on smaller, more intimate or niche events, such as the Goodwood Festival of Speed in the UK or CES.
Also, companies, unshackled from scheduled and restrictive auto shows, can release new products and news whenever they want thanks to the internet. Journalists no longer have to travel around the world to see new vehicles. And automakers don’t have to wait for an auto show to get attention. Social media makes disseminating information easier than ever, often informing journalists and consumers alike. Technology also allows automakers to live stream events on Facebook, YouTube, and other platforms, meaning journalists who can’t travel can still get the information necessary for reporting.
With Opel and Vauxhall skipping Paris, some will say the auto show is dying, which could be correct. What’s more likely is the auto show will evolve. Look at Detroit, which announced it's moving the show from frigid January to early June, with the 2020 show kicking off June 8. The warmer weather will allow for more outdoor actives – like ride-and-drive events and demonstrations while avoiding any conflict with CES.
The auto show is evolving. These are just growing pains.