Auto shows have been around for decades, and they became a platform for car manufacturers to reach a wider clientele, receive feedback and make alterations to their technology after interacting with industry experts and customers. Some leading auto shows include Geneva Auto Show, Paris Motor Show, North American International Motor Show (held in Detroit), and Tokyo Auto Show.
However, in recent years it seems that the relevance of these shows has diminished for certain car manufacturers. Major car brands have pulled out of some prominent car shows such as Chicago Auto show as they no longer see any value in attending them. Brands that are minimizing their presence at such events include Mercedes, Lamborghini, Ferrari, and Rolls-Royce.
With leading brands turning away major auto shows, does this mean that they no longer have any value, or are brands missing out on a major opportunity? Let’s have a look at some of the reasons that auto shows are still relevant and important for car manufacturers.
Connecting with the Customers
Auto shows are attended by millions of automotive industry professionals, car enthusiasts, and media personnel annually. This means that car manufacturers have an opportunity to connect with their target audience directly by just attending the event. At the same time, for the attendees, auto shows are also a one-of-a-kind experience. Many manufacturers allow test drives and a closer look at their new launches.
Marketing and Publicity
The vehicles showcased at these auto shows are usually new and are yet to be made available in the market for car buyers to purchase. So, auto shows act as an introduction of these vehicles to the customer base. With manufacturers showcasing new cars, media coverage gives them more publicity and enables them to spread the word to even those that did not attend the event. With advances in social media and digital marketing channels, some car manufacturers may not consider conventional marketing necessary, but it may still be a good outlet for them.
Auto shows can also help car manufacturers create hype about their new vehicles with media coverage. Some car manufacturers consider these events to have become over-crowded so, their vehicles are overshadowed. While it may be the case, with the right product and strategy, car manufacturers can still leverage coverage and attention towards their products.
Better Customer Experience
According to a report published by Cox Automotive titled “Reimagining the Automotive Consumer Experience,” it was found that fewer customers are visiting car dealerships. The reason for this decline has nothing to do with the car dealership but the customer’s interest in getting a better user experience. Customers now want to experience the vehicle without feeling obligated or pressured into making the purchase. In the case of visiting a car dealership, car dealers are busy trying to sell the vehicle taking away the vehicle experience from the customers. So, when customers visit an auto show, they get to experience the vehicle only. They can decide if they want to purchase it or not later without any pressure. 70% of customers who took the survey preferred to visit brand experience centers that are set up by car manufacturers at auto shows. They preferred this as it will provide them with a better customer experience, they will be able to experience the features of the vehicle with guided tours. It will also enable customers to build a better connection with the brand and the vehicle that they are offering.
Customer preferences evolve with time and now customers want more than they demanded earlier. With auto shows, customers have a chance to witness hundreds of car brand-experience centers in one place. They get to learn more about the vehicles and understand what they have to offer. They can take their time learning and comparing cars before they even think about purchasing. With more information in hand, they can make a better decision for themselves.
Customer Feedback and Market Research
Some vehicles are in midst of manufacturing and car manufacturers test drive them by showcasing a prototype at the auto show. This helps them record the response of the attendees and improve the vehicle based on the feedback that they receive.
Auto shows are a great outlet for car consumers to experience vehicles closely, learn about their features and possibly test drive them as well. They are in a no-pressure situation where they are only looking at the car and focusing on its capabilities without a salesperson trying to convince them to make the purchase. It is a unique customer experience that car manufacturers can offer at auto shows as opposed to their authorized dealerships. Auto shows are therefore still a great outlet for manufacturers to make a connection with their customers, get their feedback, listen to their concerns and queries. Even though auto shows can be pricey with the space rented for a hefty price, car manufacturers cannot overlook the long-term gains and relevance that auto shows have even in today’s automotive market.