Autopocalypse Update: Car shows take big hit
Amid the current maelstrom of plunging sales and hat-in-hand government bailout requests, automakers are looking under every nook and cranny to save a buck. And the next line item on the expenditure spread sheet to take a hit seems to be car shows.
General Motors had already scrapped plans to debut its Buick LaCrosse/Allure and the Cadillac CTS Coupe at next week's Los Angeles Auto Show. Then yesterday, it announced it was canceling its only news conference planned for the event altogether.
GM spokesman Scott Fosgard told the Detroit News that with all the bad financial news and discussions about a bailout, any product news would simply get lost in the shuffle. Instead, GM will still show the Saab 9-X Air concept from the Paris Motor Show along with the production version of the Chevy Volt.
But GM isn’t the only company rethinking its approach to these glitzy auto orgies.
The Los Angeles Times ran a story this week updating the status of the next two big American auto shows—L.A. next week, followed by Detroit in January. Here are some interesting tidbits it found:
• Volkswagen also canceled its L.A. show news conference. The German automaker had planned to debut a roadster concept, but has moved it to Detroit;
• Chrysler said it would make local dealers pay for the company's L.A. show stand and would reveal no new products;
• Suzuki said spending money on the Detroit show no longer makes sense. Suzuki's U.S. sales are down 12 per cent so far this year, and with no new models or concept cars to introduce, the company decided to give up on the Detroit shindig;
• Other no shows for Detroit (so far) are Ferrari, Land Rover, and Rolls-Royce, which is owned by BMW. (BMW will be in Detroit, however.) And don't forget, Porsche bailed on the Motor City extravaganza last year.
And this is probably just the tip of the iceberg. But this trend does beg a couple of questions.
How important is it to you, the car buyer, that automakers are at these shows?
Do you find it an important medium to get info?
Or are car shows going the way of broadcast TV and hand written letters?
[Source: Detroit News, Los Angeles Times]