LA AutoShow: On the World Stage, On the Morrow

Media Days for the LA Auto Show start tomorrow, and the usual assortment of press conferences, announcements & new models will be there, for all the world to see. There is a prediction I will make here, one that I see unfolding perhaps even as I write this: After the 2010 season, there will be a polarization of the key US Auto Shows, one that favors the coastal events in LA and NYC, and de-emphasizes the strength of what has long been the premier US show, the North American Int’l Auto Show in Detroit.

The reasons for this are several, with some less obvious than others. The decline of the domestic OEMs, Chrysler/Ford/GM, has something to do with it, sure. But also, as was recently documented in a stunning [if tragic to read] set of articles in Time magazine, there is the lessening population of the region [due to in part to the OEMs decline] that is a factor here. With Detroit, and Michigan at large, in some sense being ‘hollowed out’ of residents, there are just physically less people [and therefore Show attendees] for the show to retain prominence.

There is more. You see a newly aligned concentration in the US of operations for the non-domestic OEMs outside of Detroit, which in my view also lends itself very well to LA/NYC being the ‘Key’ shows.

First, there are the major Asian makers that are still based in SoCal: Acura/Honda, Hyundai/Kia, Mazda, Toyota/Lexus, and a lesser Suzuki & Mitsubishi. [While Nissan/ Infiniti moved to TN, they still have major operations here, along with their Agency partners. And being based now in the Eastern timezone as they are, they are closer now to eastern ports, including ones near NYC, and its being the largest Metro market in the country. That…and they’ve already pulled from the Detroit show.]

Then there is the cluster of East coast OEMs that have once again come about. BMW/Mini has been joined by the former Ford ‘PAG’ brands, LandRover/Jaguar/Volvo, that have returned to their original NJ locations, as they were prior to Ford. VW recently moved to Virginia, Audi is nearby, and even Chrysler’s new master, Fiat, while working with them near Detroit, is based in Italy, so NYC is a convenient stopping point to & fro.

This is not to say that the Detroit show will not remain important, but the challenges associated with it are clear. And to be fair, the outright demise of many of the smaller shows is already well under way, thanks in part to the economy, and the circulation drop at many of the newspapers that regionally either sponsored outright, or directly controlled, many of these shows, in places like Kansas City, Seattle, Houston, Denver & others.

Such an observation is not a thrilling one to offer here, but does make its onset any less apparent. And it also does not say, that the pendulum cannot one day swing back the other way, for Detroit and all of the other shows that have fallen on hard times. Here’s to a great set of Media Days @LAAutoShow…!


~ by MindOnMediaSales on December 1, 2009.

One Response to “LA AutoShow: On the World Stage, On the Morrow”

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