Are auto exhibits useless after pandemic? LA exhibits some life


LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – What a distinction two years make. The 2019 Los Angeles auto present featured a parade of auto debuts, a flurry of press conferences and different occasions within the opening two days, together with a whole bunch of hundreds of individuals desirous to see new automobiles.

Quick ahead to 2021, with Los Angeles the primary main U.S. auto present because the begin of the pandemic. The Los Angeles Auto Present kicked off on Wednesday with a single day of press occasions, and whereas crowds are anticipated, they’re prone to be a lot smaller, and a few automakers are even skipping the present.

The present illustrates how the pandemic has accelerated automakers’ shift towards the net world, as customers purchase extra autos on the web.

Honda and BMW each skipped the present in favor of separate, earlier occasions. Honda confirmed off a reincarnation of its iconic Integra prototype sedan.

“That was an occasion that was solely ours. We discover that we do not have to compete such as you do on the press days of an auto present to get the eye,” Honda govt vp Dave Gardner instructed Reuters on a Zoom interview.

Korean automaker Kia expressed an identical view.

“The pandemic has taught us that we are able to work otherwise. … There shall be auto exhibits nonetheless sooner or later, however there will be additionally several types of shows,” Karim Habib, head of Kia Design Middle, instructed Reuters on the present.

Kia and affiliate Hyundai Motor have been among the many few automakers that debuted electrical SUV ideas on the present, showcasing their giant sport electrical autos, and flying in executives, together with chief executives, from their Seoul headquarters to Los Angeles.

“Auto exhibits was once very, extremely popular for automakers to make an enormous media splash. That has modified with social media and with different types of entry to the media by customers,” Brett Smith, expertise director at Middle for Automotive Analysis, mentioned. “I feel the pandemic was perhaps the final straw on this.”

The LA Auto Present will open to the general public for 10 days beginning Friday.

“The web reservations haven’t been as sturdy as 2019, however sturdy sufficient that we consider we will have an amazing yr,” David Fortin, head of shopper advertising at Los Angeles Auto Present, instructed Reuters. “There’s nonetheless no manner, I feel, to seize that type of second outdoors of an auto present.”

Smaller firms see a optimistic aspect to the modifications.

“I do not thoughts if any person does not present up right here. It offers extra consideration to us,” Henrik Fisker, CEO of electrical automobile startup Fisker, instructed Reuters.

He mentioned his Ocean SUV is a “attractive sports activities automotive” finest seen in individual. “I do know I am zoomed out. I do not assume I get pleasure from any extra sitting simply taking a look at computer systems and photos. I wish to see the true stuff,” Fisker mentioned.

(Reporting by Hyunjoo Jin; Enhancing by Peter Henderson and Leslie Adler)

Source link