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Nine brands ditch Frankfurt motor show

Show and tell: This year’s Frankfurt motor show will be without a number of brands, including Nissan and Infiniti.

Motor show exodus continues as nine marques avoid Frankfurt

18 Aug 2017


NINE new-vehicle manufacturers will not make an appearance at next month’s Frankfurt motor show, with five European and three Japanese nameplates, plus a single American brand avoiding the biennial German motor show this year.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) will hold off from showing its Alfa Romeo, Fiat and Jeep brands, while Peugeot and Citroen/DS, Nissan and Infiniti, Mitsubishi and Volvo make up the exclusions list.

However, 28 brands will still be attending, with (in order of presentation appearance) BMW, Toyota, Lexus, Opel, Subaru, Mercedes-Benz, Smart, Renault, WEY, Volkswagen, Audi, Chery, Dacia, Lamborghini, Porsche, Bentley, Jaguar, Skoda, Land Rover, Seat, Bugatti, Hyundai, Maserati, Suzuki, Ferrari, Honda, Kia and Ssangyong taking centre stage on the September 12 and 13 press days.

Some German brands have also, however, expanded their home-town coverage, with the BMW Group on stage for 45 minutes, and Audi and Mercedes-Benz presenting in separate 15-minute slots to Audi Sport and Mercedes-AMG respectively – whereas usually each performance division is bundled as one.

Several industry observers have questioned the on-going viability of the traditional motor show, however of the brands not attending the Frankfurt motor show, only FCA Australia head of public relations and corporate communications Lucy McLellan told GoAuto: “Unfortunately the timing of the Frankfurt Auto Show hasn’t aligned with new product reveals for FCA this year.” It is understood that Jeep in particular will focus its efforts on November’s LA motor show where it is all but confirmed that the new-generation Wrangler will launch. For Japanese brands Infiniti, Nissan and Mitsubishi, the close proximity to October’s Tokyo motor show was tagged as one issue for those manufacturers.

Given that Tokyo and Frankfurt are biennial motor shows, they clash with each other whereas the Paris motor show – which alternates with the German show every other year – does not face the same clash.

However rival events such as the Goodwood Festival of Speed (GFS), held annually in the UK, have also been said to take the shine off the traditional motor show, with GFS organiser Lord March this week telling Automotive News Europe: “The manufacturers are very keen to find different ways of showing their products and we’ve been part of that change.

“It’s all about the content – manufacturers are pushing out well over 1 million hours of downloaded video. There’s lot of noise around what you’re doing.” Lord March claimed that although there were 200,000 visitors to Goodwood this year – versus 931,700 at the last Frankfurt motor show in 2015 – its social media reach was greater and it cost brands three times less to join the open-field roadshow.

Ford of Europe head of sales and marketing Roelant de Waard further told Automotive News Europe that the vast number of brands revealing content on the same day at a motor show meant that the messaging of one particular brand was all but lost.

“The challenge is that you’ve got so many manufacturers with so many messages, it’s a violation of the communication rule number one, which is, be single-minded,” he explained.

This year Audi AG launched its first mini-motorshow in Barcelona, Spain, tagged the Audi Summit and dedicated only to displaying its products to its customers, ambassadors and media – including the reveal of the all-new A8.

While Audi Australia corporate communications general manager Anna Burgdorf did not comment on the future role of the traditional motorshow, she told GoAuto that the brand was pleased with the success of the Audi Summit.

“An event like the Audi Summit certainly worked very well for us to be able to focus solely on our product and our technology and innovation in a way that is probably more in depth and meaningful than what can necessarily be achieved at a motor show, because we can purpose build structures and activities and displays for a really specific audience,” Ms Burgdorf said.

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