So, who's next?
There was a time when live auto shows drew huge crowds thanks to plenty of production and concept car debuts. But times are changing, evidenced by the withdrawal of German luxury brands like Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi from the 2019 Detroit Auto Show. Detroit isn’t alone, however. Volvo recently announced it’ll pass on the 2019 Geneva Motor Show. According to Automotive News Europe, Ford has announced it too will skip Geneva next March.
Ford claims the decision was made because the show’s timing simply didn’t fit with its launch schedule, and therefore not good value for its money. Auto shows, specifically Geneva, can cost automakers tens of millions of dollars. "It costs a sizeable amount of money," a Ford of Europe spokesman said. "If you're not going make a return on the investment in terms of media attention or people on the stand, why do it?” Ford still plans to hold an event next spring focusing on electrified vehicles, but details of this are still unknown. Like in past years, Ford will also not be present this October at Paris, but this is the first time the company has ditched Geneva in recent years. But the fact both Volvo and now Ford are passing on Geneva is a potentially troubling sign.
You see, unlike Frankfurt, Paris, and Detroit, Geneva is considered something of “neutral territory” because Switzerland is not home to any mainstream brand; all attending companies can get a more equal share of the spotlight. Geneva is also a very well attended show by both the media and public. Will other automakers drop out as well? Time will tell. In the meantime, Ford will continue with more targeted events, such as the unannounced spring venue, as well as the Goodwood Festival of Speed next week.