After a two-year hiatus, the Los Angeles Auto Show returns in November to the Los Angeles Convention Center, promising the kind of global product revelations, press releases and consumer tire park that have characterized traditional car shows for the past few decades.
It will be fascinating to see if the exhibition, now called the AutoMobility LA-LA Auto Show, regains some lost traction for this highly endangered form of car marketing – or underscores why car shows have become so endangered, on the verge of becoming irrelevant and even eradicated.
The LA show puts a game face in advance and promises to bring news to the U.S.’s best-selling car market from “legacy” automakers, including Hyundai, Kia, Porsche and Subaru, as well as brand-new Southern California-based brands Fisker and Mullen Automotive. The show also announced that Vietnam’s first global automaker, VinFast, will launch its brand and products there.
After a two-day period of news conferences and press releases, the LA show will open its one million square feet of indoor and outdoor space to the general public with the hope that local consumers have struggled to slam doors and look under the hoods of real ones instead. for virtual sheet metal. Also, brands of electric vehicles and the overall battery-powered offering will have a chance to impress potential buyers in America’s best electric market.
“Our fans are eager to come back in person and revive what has become a November tradition in Los Angeles,” Terri Toennies, president of AutoMobility LA and the LA Auto Show, said in a press release.
But the LA show will truly fight uphill against a recent deterioration in the basic appeal of traditional car shows – not so much for consumers, but for car manufacturers and suppliers, who for many years have deferred millions of dollars to buy the shows’ unrivaled platforms for press attention prior to the admission of the car-buying public.
Deadly competition has come to car shows like the U.S. marker events in LA, Detroit, New York and Chicago in two forms. First, as a complement to Silicon Valley’s invasion of the car through electric cars and autonomous vehicles, the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas has boldly elbowed into the car showrooms by increasing its focus on car-related technologies over the past few years. Affected but unmoved by the pandemic and planning a lot of auto-related announcements and content, the annual CES will be held again in early January, 2022.
At the same time, car brands have worried about the end of the industry’s several years of long, strong races with increasing sales and wringing hands over marketing expenses. Increasingly, they can stage their own revelations in person with a hand-picked audience of influencers – or just launch new products online and via social media and avoid the huge expense of staging an extravaganza in LA or other car shows.
The car show in Detroit, known as the North American International Car Show, seems to have gotten the worst out of this turnaround, which of course has also included the inhibitory effects of covid. The last traditional NAIAS, held annually in January, was in early 2019. Show officials saw the writing on the wall for 2020 and planned to move NAIAS for the summer, take advantage of better weather and take advantage of auto-related venues and interests around metro Detroit instead of just downtown downtown.
The pandemic revealed these plans, and the NAIAS eventually ended up planning a heavily scaled-down outdoor event for September last year called Motor Bella, in Pontiac, Michigan. Torrent rain for two days ruined this event.
But even before the thunderstorm flooded the Motor Bella, Toyota’s marketing plan surrounding the crucial launch of its all-new 2022 Toyota Tundra talked a lot about the fate of today’s car shows. Instead of choosing to take the pack of the model at the Motor Bella, LA show or any other physical car show, Toyota figuratively unveiled the new Tundra to the American public on September 19 during a broadcast of the National Football Leagues Sunday night football, with a 60-second commercial titled “Born from Invincible.” Just a few days later, Tundra was scheduled to make its “auto-show debut” in Michigan at Motor Bella.
“This place served as our unveiling opportunity, in the absence of a traditional car show due to covid,” Lisa Materazzo, Toyota’s marketing manager, told me. “Like many other OEMs, we are considering how to introduce new vehicles to the market. It gave us the opportunity to be creative [in the ad] as well.
“The moment we pull the silk off a vehicle and reveal it to the world was different this year and it actually created a unique and innovative and engaging way.”