Volkswagen Boss Thinks Traditional Auto Shows Are Dead

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The Volkswagen Group Chairman believes traditional auto shows should take inspiration from the Goodwood Festival of Speed.

Traditional auto shows are changing and are arguably less relevant than ever. Every year is now over-saturated with them, making it hard for automakers to attend all of them. Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz, for example, have pulled out of the 2019 Detroit Auto Show. Mazda, Mini, Volvo, Porsche, Mitsubishi, Jaguar, and Land Rover also won’t be attending next year’s show.

This decline in popularity has prompted organizers to move the 2020 Detroit Auto Show, which is traditionally held in January, to June to reinvigorate the event. However, Volkswagen Group Chairman Dr. Herbert Diess believes the future for traditional auto shows is bleak. “Motor shows are dead,” he said bluntly during an interview with Australia’s Motoring at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. “They are a product of the 1960s and they are not as relevant anymore. They’re not delivering what we want and they’re not delivering what car buyers want.”

Instead, the Volkswagen Group Chairman believes that festivals and dynamic events like the Goodwood Festival of Speed are the way forward. “People need to see more interaction with the product. They expect it. Those days of relying on tradition are gone,” he said. “It’s events like the Goodwood Festival of Speed that are showing us the modern way to show cars to people.”

To try and revitalize the event, the 2020 Detroit Auto Show will include outdoor displays, dynamic debuts echoing the Goodwood Festival of Speed. It will also coincide with the Detroit Grand Prix and conclude with the Ford Fireworks display to create a month-long automotive festival.

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It isn’t just Detroit suffering however, as automakers have also been pulling out of the Geneva, Frankfurt and Paris Auto Shows. Automakers such as Lamborghini, Alfa Romeo, Ford, Volkswagen and Volvo won’t be attending this year’s Paris Auto Show in October, for example.

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