Audi to skip Detroit Auto Show in 2019

Audi-A8-4

Back in January, 2018, Audi attended the Detroit Auto Show and showed off many new cars. However, that may be the last time we see Audi in Motor City, as the Ingolstadt-based brand has joined a group of other companies that have decided not to attend the Detroit Auto Show any longer. So Audi will not be in attendance in 2019.

In a statement to Automotive News, Audi “has had a long and successful history at NAIAS [North American International Auto Show], debuting countless models that Audi customers enjoy today. For 2019, we have decided that we will not participate in NAIAS. We will continue to evaluate Auto Shows on a case by case basis relative to the timing of our product introductions and the value the show brings from a media and consumer perspective.”

We’ve spoken to people from within premium brands about this and we’ve heard the same thing; Detroit just isn’t worth it anymore. The cost of the show is high and the timing of it is poor. Automakers, especially techy ones like Audi, find it more useful to put their resources into CES (Consumer Electronics Show), which is only a few weeks later and in Las Vegas, a bigger, more exciting venue in North America. It’s also a more exciting show and, as cars become more and more high-tech and connected, it’s also more important.

After this announcement, the only German brand to attend the Detroit Auto Show will be Volkswagen. BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Porsche have all pulled out. So has Volvo, MINI, Mazda and Land Rover.

The Detroit Auto Dealers Association, which organizes the show, is naturally not happy about this and is attempting to change it moving forward to entice car companies to come back. “In meetings that have occurred around the world with participating brands, the show has been privy to some insights on significant product and industry news that has been earmarked for Detroit for the 2019 show,” said a DADA Spokesperson.

When it comes to these auto shows, car companies have to weigh the costs of shipping cars there and attending it against the potential media outreach they will get. And Detroit just isn’t sensible any longer. What’s interesting is that Audi might not stop at Detroit. A spokesperson for Audi of America recently said that Audi will be attending the 2018 LA Auto Show but after that will be looking into whether or not it makes any sense and will be looking into all North American auto shows on a case-by-case basis. If Auto pulls out of both, that would leave only the New York International Auto Show and the Chicago Auto Show.

Audi is apparently informing Detroit-based dealers of its decision today.