BMW recently announced its intention to skip next year’s North American International Auto Show in Detroit, issuing a statement about re-evaluating its trade-show strategy that amounted to the age-old “It’s not you, it’s me.” Only this time it appears to be true: Bimmer is now planning to significantly pare back its presence at the 2019 show in Frankfurt, in its own backyard.
German publication Handelsblatt first reported BMW’s plans, which will see its spending on the biennial show drop to around 5 million or 6 million euros ($6.1 million to $7.3 million), from its previous outlay of up to €25 million ($30.6 million). Instead — and stop us if you’ve heard this one before — it’ll use the money to increase its budget for up-and-coming technology events like CES in Las Vegas, the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona and auto shows in China, the world’s largest auto market.
That’ll mean a shrinking of its exhibition in Frankfurt, which previously occupied its own hall, by more than two-thirds, from the equivalent of around 36,000 square feet to just under 10,000 square feet. That will no doubt have a major bearing on the range of vehicles it opts to display, and maybe even the brands (Mini?) that it will feature. BMW last fall had a circuit encircling its exhibition space in Frankfurt and made more than 10 world premiers.
The Frankfurt Motor Show, which alternates every other fall with the Paris show, is the world’s largest auto show. Like Detroit, it has struggled with a rising number of no-shows from automakers in recent years, as the likes of Tesla, Nissan, Jeep, Volvo, Fiat, Mitsubishi, Infiniti and Peugeot all opted to sit out last September. This year’s show in Frankfurt is only for commercial vehicles, as Paris takes its turn in the limelight in October.
The organizers of the Detroit show, meanwhile, are mulling a move to an October date from January as a way to better compete with other events.