Big name manufacturers including Ford, Volvo and Rolls-Royce have chosen to skip the Paris motor show next month, choosing to spend their marketing dollars elsewhere.
Instead of spending large amounts of money operating a stand at an exhibition centre, auto makers are starting to focus their advertising strategies on emerging forums like social media.
Ford has chosen to invite customers to one-day test drives across France during the European summer, while Rolls-Royce is throwing cocktail parties, along with taking fans on test drives and fashion viewings at the Porto Cervo bay in Italy - which were aimed at bloggers and Instagram celebrities who upload photos, videos and thoughts online to millions of followers.
Aston Martin is another manufacturer that has elected to miss the Paris motor show, with company CEO Andy Palmer telling Automotive News Europe that times have changed and there are more ways to allow customers to experience cars.
“There used to be a feeling that you had to be at every motor show,” he said.
“But there are sometimes better ways of doing it than just spending money on show after show after show.”
Motor shows can cost brands millions of dollars over the course of the event, with an example being Audi’s 10 million euro ($15 million) spend at the 2011 Frankfurt show for its temporary pavilion complete with an indoor track facility.
This trend of skipping motor shows isn’t new. Australia hasn't had a major motor show in some years now, due both to declining audience numbers and, eventually, car makers choosing not to invest in floor space.
Like the reasons cited for skipping the Paris event, the local arms chose to focus their spending on tailored customer experiences.
For Australian shows, big-name marques would spend around $2 million operating a stand for the 10-day events - not as big as European budgets, but still a significant figure.
Looking forward, ‘festivals’ are seen as a new way of attracting buyers, enthusiasts and automotive industry members, by combining the different worlds into one family-friendly experience.
MotorWorld is an event designed to entertain and engage all kinds of car people, offering a wide range of cars and motorbikes along with interactive experiences.
Sydney’s motorsport park will be divided into ‘precincts’, with each focusing on a different area; exhibits, retail, family zone, test drives, exotics, classics, customs, technology and so on.
For more information about MotorWorld Sydney, click here.
As for Paris, this latest development could be the first sign of a new era for the global automotive community. Out with the motor shows, in with the brand-specific roadshows? Time will tell.
Update: In a new article by Reuters, supercar brands Bentley and Lamborghini have also dropped out of the Paris motor show, as parent company Volkswagen cuts its spending to soften the financial blow caused by last year's 'Dieselgate' emissions scandal.
According to the report, Bentley said it will focus on smaller events to market directly to buyers.
Meanwhile, Lamborghini said it is revising its strategy towards motor show attendance, including prioritising the choice of locations - Paris obviously not being high enough on the list.
Stay tuned to CarAdvice for our coverage of the Paris motor show in the coming weeks.