Here Are the Brands That Won't Be Shipping Out to the Frankfurt Motor Show This Year

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

Frankfurt is the real deal when it comes to trade events. Germany’s International Motor Show is the oldest and, frequently, the largest exhibition of new vehicles and automotive engineering on the planet. However, some important automakers are deciding not to bother with it this year.

The event’s organizer, Germany’s VDA industry association, has confirmed that several automakers have cancelled on the Internationale Automobil-Ausstellung in September 2017. While there will still be over 50 individual brands from Europe, Asia, and the United States, a few of the heavier hitters are following the trend of taking their marketing money off the floor and rerouting it back into digital advertising.

Brands forgoing Germany’s IAA exhibition include Nissan, Infiniti, Mitsubishi, Peugeot, DS, Volvo, Fiat, Alfa Romeo, and Jeep.

“Naturally we regret when individual exhibitors will not be in Frankfurt this time. The reasons are varying and each specific to the company, but mainly connected to financial or corporate policies,” said VDA’s managing director Klaus Braeunig in the statement. “These exhibitors however have all spoken out in favor of strong automotive trade shows and are open to returning in the future.”

Whether or not they return is dubious, however. Without a high-profile product to unveil, there isn’t much incentive to expend funds to transport the staff and sheet metal to a trade show when you can endlessly remind consumers about your other products online. PSA’s Citroen will be in attendance for that very reason, while its other brands — Peugeot and DS — are staying home.

“Each brand constantly compares the efficiency of its marketing investments to decide its participation in shows,” a PSA spokesman told Automotive News Europe. The company explained it was simply a matter of considering the possible return on investment and a lack of desire to take part in trade shows solely out of “habit.”

Nissan said its choice to avoid IAA resulted from a recent global assessment of the company’s event and show strategy. “Moving forward, we will adopt a flexible strategy using a combination of automotive, consumer and dedicated Nissan events and partnerships to broaden our reach and appeal among influencers and wider consumers,” a Nissan spokesperson said.

The cancellations in Germany are by no means an isolated incident. Trade shows have seen diminishing participation for years now. Ford didn’t bother to attend Paris last year and Detroit had a distinctive lack of interesting concepts or flash in 2017. Bob Lutz went to far as to call the event “mediocre at best, irrelevant at worst” and faulted it for keeping all the interesting technology in the basement.

Automotive focus has shifted heavily toward tech-related shows in the last few years. The Consumer Electronics Show — now just called “CES” — has seen an upswing in automakers hoping to show off their latest and greatest features. Meanwhile, traditional trade shows are becoming progressively more lackluster and are likely doomed to continue down that path as car builders take their marketing cash out of the physical realm.

[Image: Internationale Automobil-Ausstellung]

Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

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  • Eggsalad Eggsalad on Apr 06, 2017

    As a person who has built booths for NAIAS (although this in no way makes me an authority) these things are EXPENSIVE. Forget what it costs to rent the floor space, the construction and installation of a booth takes weeks and costs tens of millions. Yes, some elements are re-used from year to year and show to show, but fewer than you'd think. In these days of Internet sneak peeks and full reveals, I don't find it surprising that manufacturers can find better ways to spend these tens of millions of dollars.

    • See 4 previous
    • Lorenzo Lorenzo on Apr 07, 2017

      @threeer A lot of the models I wanted to sit in were of the 'do not touch' variety. The few that allowed you to sit in them had knobs missing. All it takes is a few kleptos to ruin it for everyone.

  • 3SpeedAutomatic At this time, GM had a "Me Too" attitude towards engine development:[list][*]the Euro luxury brands have diesels, so can we via an Olds V8[/*][*]variable value timing, welcome to the brave new world of Cadillac V8-6-4[/*][*]an aluminum block V8 engine via the HT4100, the go-go 80's[/*][*]double overhead cams, 4 valves per cylinder, no sweat, just like the Asian brands via NorthStar. [/*][/list]When you mindset is iron block and cast iron heads, life if easy. However, each time, GM failed to understand the nuances; intricate differences; and technical difficulty in each new engine program. Each time, GM came away with egg on its face and its reputation in ruin.If you look today, the engines in most Cadillacs are the same as in many Chevrolets. 🚗🚗🚗
  • 3-On-The-Tree I don’t think Toyotas going down.
  • ToolGuy Random thoughts (bulleted list because it should work on this page):• Carlos Tavares is a very smart individual.• I get the sense that the western hemisphere portion of Stellantis was even more messed up than he originally believed (I have no data), which is why the plan (old plan, original plan) has taken longer than expected (longer than I expected).• All the OEMs who have taken a serious look at what is happening with EVs in China have had to take a step back and reassess (oversimplification: they were thinking mostly business-as-usual with some tweaks here and there, and now realize they have bigger issues, much bigger, really big).• You (dear TTAC reader) aren't ready to hear this yet, but the EV thing is a tsunami (the thing has already done the thing, just hasn't reached you yet). I hesitate to even tell you, but it is the truth.
  • ToolGuy ¶ I have kicked around doing an engine rebuild at some point (I never have on an automobile); right now my interest level in that is pretty low, say 2/5.¶ It could be interesting to do an engine swap at some point (also haven't done that), call that 2/5 as well.¶ Building a kit car would be interesting but a big commitment, let's say 1/5 realistically.¶ Frame-up restoration, very little interest, 1/5.¶ I have repainted a vehicle (down to bare metal) and that was interesting/engaging (didn't have the right facilities, but made it work, sort of lol).¶ Taking a vehicle which I like where the ICE has given out and converting it to EV sounds engaging and appealing. Would not do it anytime soon, maybe 3 to 5 years out. Current interest level 4/5.¶ Building my own car (from scratch) would have some significant hurdles. Unless I started my own car company, which might involve other hurdles. 😉
  • Rover Sig "Value" is what people perceive as its worth. What is the worth or value of an EV somebody creates out of a used car? People value different things, but for a vehicle, people generally ascribe worth in terms of reliability, maintainability, safety, appearance and style, utility (payload, range, etc.), convenience, operating cost, projected life, support network, etc. "Value for money" means how much worth would people think it had compared to competing vehicles on the market, in other words, would it be a good deal to buy one, compared to other vehicles one could get? Consider what price you would have to ask for it, including the parts and labor you put into it, because that would affect the “for the money” part of the “value for money” calculation. An indicator of whether people think an EV-built-in-a-used-car would provide "value for money" is the current level of demand for used cars turned into EVs. Are there a lot of people looking for these on the market? Or would building one just be a hobby? Repairing an existing EV, bringing it back into spec, might create better value for the money. Although demand for EVs is reportedly down recently.
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