Is the auto show model in trouble?
Mercedes-Benz's absence from the Detroit Auto Show at the start of the year was noticeable. In fact, BMW and Audi, its two most direct rivals, were also absent from the Motor City. The official reason Mercedes gave at the time was that it didn't have any new product ready to be unveiled. The year prior, the completely redesigned G-Class SUV had a massive debut in Detroit. Arnold Schwarzenegger joined the festivities, too. But this coming spring, according to Automotive News, Mercedes will not be present at yet another major American auto event, the 2020 New York Auto Show. For the past four decades, Mercedes has had a presence at the New York show, but it's still too early to determine whether it'll return in the future.
The president of the New York International Auto Show, Mark Scheinberg, told Auto News he hopes Mercedes' departure is only temporary. "We don't know what their long-term plans are. Brands change their marketing strategies. Hopefully, next year, we'll hear back from them." Mercedes has yet to provide an official explanation and/or reason for its departure, but it also joins BMW in leaving the Big Apple's annual show.
If you recall, BMW did not take part in this year's event, claiming its decision to leave as part of a "strategic shift to invest more in experiential events rather than static displays." More than likely, Mercedes has similar thinking. Abandoning the New York show will also hurt Mercedes' dealers. "The response from the dealers when they heard that Mercedes is going to bypass the show was pretty strong," Scheinberg said. "They thought it didn't make a lot of sense."
A Mercedes spokesperson stated last week that it's still too early to say whether or not it'll attend the 2020 Los Angeles Auto Show. What's happening to traditional auto shows? Why are major brands opting not to attend? Because consumer shopping habits are changing.
As auto retailing continues to go more digital, automakers are utilizing social media platforms and other creative methods to reach potential customers. Automakers also spend several million dollars on their auto show exhibits and when doing so no longer guarantees greater sales, alternative and often cheaper solutions are being found.
One such method Mercedes is currently using is temporary pop-up stores in high-end shopping malls. Reportedly, these pop-ups have drawn 250,000 visitors and generated 3,000 vehicle sales at dealerships.