Mercedes-Benz has announced it will not be present at next year’s Detroit Auto Show. Not quite surprising considering the decline of the Detroit Auto Show in recent years but it will have severe consequences for the once great show in America’s Motor City. The main threat to Detroit’s fair is the ever growing Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Where the vibe in Detroit felt cold and even slightly pessimistic with all the blows the car industry had to endure in recent years, the CES feels alive and kicking. Now that cars are becoming more and more connected and car manufacturers are going through a transformation from manufacturing giants to full-service mobility firms that push technology boundaries, it is clear the tech shows are quickly gaining in relevance and importance.

In a statement the German automaker said: “Due to the rising complexity of our industry and the multitude of future Mercedes-Benz and sub-brand products and services to come, we continuously review our communication platforms to maximize reach to our intended audiences and customer base.

As a result, we are presently working to adjust the scale and size of our auto shows and trade fairs concepts to better align with our upcoming model launches.

After much careful consideration, Mercedes-Benz has decided that it will not formally participate at the NAIAS in 2019. Mercedes-Benz participation at future auto shows and trade fairs will be reviewed on a case by case basis.”

And we can’t blame them. For years Mercedes-Benz was a thriving power that kept the NAIAS alive. Last year a majority of the interesting premieres could be found on the Mercedes-Benz stand. A majority of the international media were invited to Detroit by Mercedes-Benz whereas many other manufacturers like Audi had downgraded their NAIAS presence to a local dealer show or abandoned Detroit altogether like Bentley, Porsche, Maserati, Volvo, Jaguar and many others.

For the NAIAS and many motor shows alike it is a moment of truth. Being able to adapt or maintain a high relevance for manufacturers and visitors alike is key to their survival. Personally I think it is sad that many of them will disappear but it is not like they didn’t see it coming. I believe there will always be a market for high quality automotive events but the events need an edge to be one of the winners. Good examples are the very interactive Goodwood Festival of Speed and the must-visit Geneva Motor Show. As for the car manufacturers, they are experimenting with new and more dedicated events like the Audi Summit and other events away from the expensive motor shows. Thanks to the internet and the plethora of websites and online configurators consumers are already better informed than ever.

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