That's three major European auto brands that have shunned next year's show.
First it was Mercedes, then BMW and now it is Audi's turn to announce that it too won't be attending the 2019 Detroit Auto Show. At this rate of attrition we may see a very sparsely attended auto show come January next year. You would be forgiven for assuming something nefarious is going on here but the reason for the sudden decline in the popularity of the NAIAS (North American International Auto Show) is in fact mostly due to the fact that it takes place in January.
This puts it up against the CES (Consumer Electronics Show) which has been growing in popularity and size over the past few years and takes place just before the Detroit Auto Show. As automotive developments stray further into the world of high-tech electronics, Audi as well as other automakers have sometimes chosen to reveal new tech at CES which makes it less essential to attend both events. The Detroit show organizers have apparently been considering alternative dates but there are other big motoring events taking place throughout the year, both locally and internationally that could pose similar attendance issues.
For 2019 though, the event has already been confirmed to take place between the 12 and 27 of January. However, even without a 2020 date change, Audi as well as BMW and Mercedes have announced that they fully intend to return in 2020 to showcase their latest concepts and upcoming models. With so many events on the automotive calendar it is not entirely surprising that some will suffer from some overlap and while we won't see Audi at Detroit in January, US fans should still be able to see their upcoming models at the LA Auto Show this November.