But is this really all that shocking?
Over the past few years, it wasn't uncommon to see major automakers opt out of some of the world's most exclusive and established auto shows. For example, BMW, Audi, and Mercedes-Benz will not be present at the New York Auto Show this April. Naturally, situations like this are disturbing to show organizers, but what about the shows themselves? Are changes happening? Indeed they are, and the Frankfurt Motor Show is one of them.
According to an official announcement by the Verband der Automobilindustrie (VDA), the organizing body of Germany's International Automobile Exhibition, Frankfurt will not host the next bi-annual show, scheduled for 2021. This is a startling announcement because Frankfurt has hosted the event for nearly 70 years, but the show's attendance has dropped in recent years, most notably this past September. This happened despite the fact that several major reveals took place there in 2019, among them the Porsche Taycan, Lamborghini Sian, and Audi RS6 Avant.
The VDA previously issued a request for other German cities to present their ideas for the 2021 show. Those cities included Frankfurt, Berlin, Hamburg, Hanover, Cologne, Munich, and Stuttgart. After receiving the proposals, the VDA narrowed that list down to three: Berlin, Hamburg, and Munich.
"We are pleased about the great interest in the new IAA," show organizers said in a statement. "After intensive preparatory work, which started in October 2019, seven cities presented their concepts and ideas to the VDA. On January 23 and 24, 2020, Berlin, Frankfurt am Main, Hamburg, Hanover, Cologne, Munich and Stuttgart presented their respective concepts to the VDA and VDA member companies."
All cities had some "very creative ideas" but the list had to be cut down. The fact that Frankfurt is out is definitely a blow to the city. The VDA did thank Frankfurt "for this long, very good and trusting partnership." One of the main reasons for the change of city was because Frankurt show attendance has steadily decreased. Only 550,000 visitors came in 2019 as opposed to 810,000 in 2017.
And that was that. Although the Frankfurt show is moving to another city, other international auto shows are also looking at reinventing themselves.
Take Detroit, for example. Instead of being held in January it's moving to June starting this year in order to focus greater on mobility and EV technologies. Demonstrating them outside in January is simply not possible but June in Detroit is certainly doable.