The price of lying is getting more and more expensive for Volkswagen.
It’s no secret that Volkswagen has been cutting back its expenditures following the massive financial payout it had to make to government regulators and to the buyers of its dirty diesels, but some of its tactics have been a bit unusual. We’d expect the company to cut production of certain models that have had only marginal success in order to be frugal, but in some cases, VW has even been shorting its suppliers on cash. And now, Fortune has spelled out the automaker’s latest money-saving strategy: avoiding auto shows.
To show how committed VW is to the cut, two of its subsidiary companies, Bentley and Lamborghini, will now be skipping the show. This isn’t because these brands don’t have interesting cars to show off, rather, it’s due to the massive amount of cash that it costs these automakers to bring cars to a show. The enthusiasts in attendance are usually unaware that it costs millions for automakers to transport the cars, set up booths, and transform the ecosystem of its booth into an attractive environment for journalists, fans, and potential customers. As a result of Volkswagen tightening the budget, both Bentley and Lamborghini are revising strategies to focus on smaller events that are more exclusive and attended by a greater number of potential customers.
This puts the two niche car companies in the same boat as Ford, Aston Martin, and Volvo, which are also eschewing France’s largest car show this year. Even Rolls-Royce has backed out, possibly making Bentley less adamant to play hooky now that its rival won't be present. Part of the reason for this trend is that it seems like automakers are trying new strategies when it comes to marketing vehicles. Instead of hosting large and expensive conventions, companies are seeing more benefit in providing customer experience retreats. Still, given that international auto shows are a mecca to enthusiasts, it’s safe to say that not all car shows will see automakers take a collective leave of absence like this.