Which show is the most important for the automotive industry in 2019?

01 February 2019

1 February 2019

Manufacturers are pulling out of big automotive shows in their droves. Some are focusing on consumer electronics and technology events whereas others look to launch new vehicles using an online platform.

Pressure on the industry at present is forcing carmakers to divert funding from external projects and certain development areas into researching and building cleaner vehicles, and autonomous projects. One such area that can save money is the show scene, with millions spent on stands, promotions, staffing, brochures and more.

Autovista Group asked in its latest survey, which event is the most important for the industry in 2019. The results are in and it seems many still believe in the importance of the traditional vehicle show.

show chart

Leading the way with a third (33%) of responses was Geneva, taking place on 7-17 March. Manufacturers are already planning their stands and it is expected that many will use the first big European show of the year to unveil their latest electric vehicles. The event, together with IFA Berlin – the world’s leading trade fair for digital and networked solutions for IT, telecommunications, consumer electronics and home appliances – are jointly organising Shift AUTOMOTIVE, a series of events dedicated to future mobility. This conference will address how new automotive technologies are changing the way we think, live and drive and is a further example of how events are changing to highlight the future of mobility alongside vehicle launches.

Second in the poll was the IAA in Frankfurt (25%). It takes place on the 12-22 September and this year includes a nod to heritage motoring, as part of its IAA Experience event. In 2017, the show saw a number of important announcements and concepts involving EVs and became the first place where large manufacturers showcased their plans for future mobility projects. Being held in the home of Europe’s largest automotive market, and industry, the event is once again expected to be home to some big announcements.

Third with 17% was the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) which was held in Las Vegas in early January. This annual show has seen more and more manufacturers grace its halls, using the technology event to highlight EVs and autonomous projects, together with in-car developments and some outlandish concepts (Hyundai this year previewed a ′walking’ car). The show has also allowed carmakers to perform some publicity stunts, such as Audi sending a driverless car across the US to arrive at the show.

A further 8% of respondents chose the London Motor and Technology show, held at the ExCeL Centre on 16-19 May. This will be the fourth running of the event, although this year it has embraced the advancement of vehicle technology by adding to its name. The London Motor Show is a new concept, with dealerships working alongside manufacturers to allow visitors to test drive and purchase vehicles on the stand. This allows closer interaction and means carmakers get more from the event by attending.

The European Motor Show in Brussels gained 5%, as did the ′other’ category, as voters suggested the Mobile World Congress and some conferences as being the most important events for the industry this year. These were followed by Detroit (3%), the Goodwood Festival of Speed and Tokyo (2% each). SEMA and Seoul both failed to register a vote.