Who will be next?
According to Autocar, Ford is the first major automaker that will not be attending the 2019 Geneva Motor Show in March. Ford also did not attend Europe’s first major car show of the season, the 2018 Paris Motor Show, last month. So why will Ford not be at Geneva, the biggest annual car show in the world? Because its 2019 product launches are not a good fit for the Swiss show.
A Ford spokesperson explained to Autocar that it “looked at all the things we had to do in 2019, and we’ve got a lot of stuff coming," they said. "But the way our product cadence works, we didn’t feel that the Geneva timing met our requirements. Rather than go to Geneva with relatively small news, we would rather do something later that would give us more bang for our buck. I don’t anticipate this will be a regular thing, though.”
What would have Ford displayed at Geneva if it decided to attend? The new Focus ST, which isn't coming to America, and the facelifted Mondeo sedan and wagon. This isn’t the first time a major automaker is bailing out on a major car show. Just look at Detroit this coming January, as a prime example. BMW, Audi, and Mercedes-Benz announced a few months ago their absence, citing the same reason as Ford regarding Geneva. However, Ford will very much have a big presence at Detroit 2019, the final time the event will be head in the middle of January. Starting in 2020, Detroit will take place in June.
Why the change, aside from being able to avoid those harsh Detroit winters? Because the format of auto shows have changed. Instead of displaying everything inside, automakers want to demonstrate new technologies outside as well. It’s hard, if not outright impossible, to show off the capabilities of autonomous technologies inside where space is limited.
One current and long-running car show example that works very well for attending manufacturers, including Ford, is the Goodwood Festival of Speed. Not only is it outdoors during the summertime, but automakers are able to engage with both the media and public in more interactive ways. The automakers get more bang for their buck. Who will other automakers jump ship in Geneva 2019? It’s certainly possible now that Ford has made its decision.