Auto Show Season Now Open

Ron Doron


I've been attending auto shows for over 15 years and it's always easy to gauge how well these manufacturers are doing based on their presence at these annual events.  The biggest trend is for car companies to simply not show up, but leverage the attendance for some private gathering.  In many ways it's quite genius since they spare the expense of assembling a small army to show off their product while still getting the attention of automotive journalists.  

Lamborghini brought in 30 cars for a private event where journalists drove from Santa Monica to Calabasas where they were treated to a fancy party.  I turned it down because I wasn't invited and chose the Ford Fiesta event at the Palladium, so there.  Aston Martin was a no-show as a manufacturer, but local dealer Galpin stepped up and bought booth space to represent the brand.....a true sign of the times.  Ferrari and Bentley simply said no and had no presence at the show, but then again, do they really need the attention?  Nissan and Infiniti left last year and didn't return, so they held a private party to launch the M35/M56 sedan.

What about the show itself?  Well in the past, Audi and BMW had their famous two-story booth which provided great food and great views.  Those are gone and replaced with single level, more practical structures.  Even little things like the cappuccino machine at the Buick stand has been eliminated.  Thankfully California's largest electric company, Edison, stepped up with some free coffee for hungover journalists.

Yes, it's truly a sign of the times.  However, most consumers will not see the changes as they reconfigure the show floor for the masses on public days.  I say go to the shows while you can because in the future, there may not be auto shows as we know them today.  Future shows may not be shows at all, but CGI presentations that puts consumers inside the cars on a virtual test drive.