Now that the 2018 Detroit Auto Show has come and gone, there’s a good possibility that it will be the last one for Mercedes-Benz, at least until 2020. That’s because the famous German manufacturer may, in fact, pull out of the 2019 NAIAS (North American International Auto Show) in Detroit.
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According to Mercedes-Benz, it’s mostly due to the brand’s model launch calendar. Apparently, due to the models that will be unveiled around that time, it isn’t worth it for Mercedes to pay for a space and to ship all of its cars to Detroit. “We have to look at whether a trade show like Detroit fits with the cadence of our launch calendar and whether there’s a more effective format for our needs,” said a senior Mercedes executive close to the plans, according to Auto News. “The G-Class was the perfect product to debut this year, but the likelihood we will be in Detroit next January is very slim. That doesn’t mean however we are ruling out a return in 2020.”
A lot of it also has to do with the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), which is held in Las Vegas almost immediately before the Detroit Show. So CES is eating into Detroit a bit and automakers would rather show off their cars in Las Vegas than Detroit. Especially now that technology and connectivity plays so heavily into modern cars. It almost makes more sense to show some vehicles off at CES, an electronics show, rather than a traditional auto show.
Mercedes-Benz dealers in the Detroit are unhappy with this, as it fails to bring the newest models to the public before the dealer gets them. So there’s not as much hype building up locally. However, we’ve been hearing that journalists and automakers alike are becoming fed up with how much control dealerships have over auto shows.
While Mercedes-Benz originally claimed this backing out was due to product cadence, another Daimler employee feels otherwise. “With the number of models we have there’s always a new car waiting to be launched. That’s not the reason,” he told Auto News. “Trade shows were designed so potential customers could easily compare prices across brands in one day, but this is no longer contemporary.”
This sort of backing out could continue throughout more of the industry, as automakers start to use their dollars more wisely when it comes to auto shows. Mercedes-Benz isn’t the first to back out of Detroit and it likely won’t be the last. If a car company feels that its presence at a show isn’t worth the extremely high cost of being there, then there’s a good chance it won’t be.