For the better part of a decade now, automakers have been pulling out of auto shows in the U.S. Initially, it was smaller specialty makers like Ferrari and Lamborghini. However, the COVID pandemic accelerate the pace of departures with the latest being Stellantis, which says it’s skipping the Chicago Auto Show next month and will consider events on a case-by-case basis going forward.
The move to skip Chicago isn’t as big a surprise as some might think. The company skipped the Special Equipment Market Association, or SEMA, show last year in Las Vegas and the LA Auto Show before that.
Why the change? Efficient use of funds.
“With a focus on preserving business fundamentals to mitigate the impact of a challenging U.S. automotive market, Stellantis is working to optimize its marketing strategy as it relates to auto shows,” the company said in a statement.
“To be as efficient as possible in our media spend, we are evaluating participation in auto shows on a case-by-case basis, while prioritizing opportunities for consumers to experience our vehicles first-hand.”
It’s not just the big shows Stellantis is dropping from its rota either.
The company is leaving the Houston Auto Show, save a ride-and-drive loop, the North Texas Auto Expo in Dallas, and more likely coming. The company will let its dealers in Canada determine what shows the company will participate in within that country.
Auto shows have been struggling to keep their events afloat for some time, especially since the pandemic. Automakers are looking for more efficient ways to get big bang for their buck and they’re figuring out that the long-standing auto show circuit in North America may not be the way to do it.
The Detroit Auto Show is looking to get back on its feet — Stellantis officials were non-committal about the show, given that it’s held in September.