The North American International Auto Show kicks off on Monday, but the Detroit flagship car show is no longer that once the luxury automakers are going elsewhere to debut their latest projects.
"This is the last Detroit Auto Show that is taking place in the winter," Julie Blackley, head of communications at the iSeeCars automotive data company, told CNBC. "The only European brand with a stand is Volkswagen, so there is not much hype around this show like in previous years."
As automakers set sail, revealing their latest improvements at the LA Auto Show that runs just after Thanksgiving or at the recently concluded Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the organizers of the Detroit show have decided to move it since January in June from 2020. Doug North – president of the dealers' association that runs the show, dubbed NAIAS – said the move should help car manufacturers make use of outdoor spaces and offer more interesting exhibits for the public.
"June will allow us to better show the leadership, development and automotive heritage of our big city and region," North said in a press release announcing the change.
The debate is not established if changing the date to a warmer month will be enough to attract producers. According to Jeremy Acevedo, manager of the analysis of the Edmunds sector, cars in general are in decline. Car manufacturers increasingly opt to host their events or revelations online rather than struggling to show off one another for limited consumer attention during car shows. Just Wednesday, Ford launched its redesigned Explorer 2020 at the Ford Field stadium in Detroit.
Car manufacturers, said Acevedo, are wondering, "Is there a bang for your luck there?"
In addition, they are not only competing with other debuts in Detroit. Increasingly, automakers are opting to demonstrate technology at CES in Las Vegas. While car manufacturers seek to compete in the world of autonomous driving, connected cars and mobility services, CES offers them the chance to confront an audience that may not be familiar with their brands.
Audi, Mercedes and BMW have chosen to show their latest novelties in Las Vegas this past week instead of Detroit. Not only does CES offer an audience focused on ever-more advanced car technology, but the warm Las Vegas climate in January allows companies to demonstrate off-road driving and off-road capabilities without having to worry about snow .
To Acevedo, open-air exhibits offer a good reason to change the date of the Detroit show. As automakers move away from the fanfare that surrounds the new metal sheet and offer more services and technologies, the ability to show that it becomes more important.
"Automotive shows have been a bit of a look, but they do not touch" bargain. "He said it says it's a strategy that does not get attention and involvement.
" To have something interactive, that is able to demonstrate capacity … it could be an advantage, "Acevedo told CNBC, but in the end, he is not convinced that it will be enough to bring the NAIAS back to its former glory.
The car it is presented as a concept, he said, has a "limited shelf life." Despite the best efforts of NAIAS, he says we are approaching the expiration date.