Detroit Auto Show returns after the pandemic
The Detroit Auto Show, which disappeared for two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, will come back on Wednesday, 14 September, with a new, less flashy approach.
The auto show now takes place in September, instead of January, so that it can be held partly outdoors. It offers a prominent place to the many electric vehicles present at the show, a sign of the first steps towards the long transition of the American automobile industry.
Joe Biden will be at the show on an opening day, reserved for the media, to promote the measures taken by his administration to encourage the adoption of electric vehicles.
During the show’s heyday, Detroit was known for the petit fours and cases of champagne distributed by the major Detroit manufacturers, but also by the major international groups such as Toyota or Mercedes-Benz, during the fanfare of their gleaming machines.
An atmosphere that today’s organizers do not intend to reproduce, a sign of the profound changes in society since the last show in 2019.
“We can’t keep doing what we’ve always done,” says Detroit Dealers Association CEO Rod Alberts, “you have to take risks at some point.
In the past, the show was held in winter, so visitors would have the opportunity to test drive cars in downtown Detroit. A “show above the show” will showcase emerging air mobility solutions.
It is also a way to fill the gap in the automotive industry, especially in the absence of big international groups.
“The era of the eye-catching car show is over,” says Cox Automotive analyst Michelle Krebs.
Detroit has suffered dramatically from the automotive crisis, and the Detroit show is not the first to face existential questions. In Europe, the Geneva show has been cancelled for the fourth year and is moving to Doha, Qatar, while Frankfurt has moved to Munich to become a “mobility” show.
The Paris Motor Show is expected to be smaller than in the past.
One of the main changes concerns the launch of new models, as manufacturers have discovered the virtues of an online presentation during the pandemic, which is much cheaper than a stand at a trade fair.
This is the choice made by General Motors for its much-anticipated Equinox EV, which was presented online on Thursday, a week before Detroit.
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