May 29, 2018 12:53
Traditional motor shows are losing their luster as many major carmakers are turning their eyes on IT expos.
The Paris Motor Show in October is expected to be downsized this year as major automakers are not participating. Marking its 120th anniversary this year, the Paris show is one of the world's four biggest alongside Detroit, Geneva and Frankfurt.
Earlier this month Volkswagen already announced its decision to pull out of the event this year, while other carmakers including Ford, Infinity, Lamborghini, Matsuda, Nissan, Opel and Volvo followed suit.
Volkswagen said it could instead host "various communications activities" in Paris, including test drives. "The Volkswagen brand is continually reviewing its participation in international motor shows," it added.
Jaguar, Land Rover, Matsuda and Porsche also did not take part in the Detroit Motor Show in January, and three major German brands -- Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz -- have already made it clear that they will not participate from next year.
A considerable number of automakers including Bentley, Honda, Ssangyong, Volkswagen and Volvo are not participating in the Busan Motor Show next month either.
Their rationale is that these shows are not good value for money. It costs a carmaker billions of won from shipping expenses to booth rental charges to take part. BMW used to spend up to 25 million euros (about W31.5 billion) on a show.
But motor shows are no longer a must for carmakers with a new trend in marketing that favors customized and targeted promotions. "Nowadays, many customers are visiting dealerships after participating in test drive events and making up their mind," an industry insider said. "There's less need for automakers to unveil their new models at motor shows."
Instead, carmakers are focusing on developing technology for future cars such as electric and self-driving vehicles. And to present their blueprints they choose IT shows rather than motor shows.
Most global carmakers took part in the Consumer Electronics Show, the world's largest electronics fair in Las Vegas in January, with more booths set up than last year.
"More carmakers are participating in IT shows instead of traditional motor shows as vehicles are more equipped with high-tech electronics features," said Prof. Kim Pil-soo of Daelim University. "Motor shows will continue to shrink."
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