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Audi Latest Manufacturer to Pass on Detroit Auto Show

Audi, following the lead of German rivals BMW and Mercedes-Benz, has announced that it will skip the next Detroit International Auto Show, taking place in January 2019.

Many have been saying for years that auto shows need to adapt to the times and reinvent themselves. The advent of the Internet has allowed companies to put on world premieres and other presentations online  that can be seen around the world in real time, all through the year.

When you consider the phenomenal costs associated with appearing at an auto show, it’s easy to see how automakers might conclude that they should pick their spots regarding which events to focus on. And while it’s a stretch to expect Audi to skip the Frankfurt auto show, for example, bypassing Detroit seems almost like a logical move.

A press release sent to Automotive News by Audi provides some insight into the company’s motives, as well as how its brain-trust perceives the future.

"Audi has had a long and successful history at NAIAS, debuting countless models that customers enjoy today. For 2019, we have decided that we will not participate in NAIAS. We will continue to evaluate auto shows on a case-by-case basis relative to the timing of our product introductions and the value the show brings from a media and consumer perspective."

- Audi statement

Audi began gradually pulling back from the auto show circuit last year, notably by organizing the first Audi Summit in Barcelona, Spain, where it premiered the 2019 A8. This year, the event will take place in Brussels on August 30, and will feature the debut of the e-tron Quattro.

Audi’s pullout represents a fresh blow to the Detroit International Auto Show, which already faces strong competition from Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in its efforts to retain media attention. Rumours floating around persist that the Motor City show may be moved from January to the month of October. The idea is that that period of the year is more apt to encourage attendance and media conference.

While the 2019 Detroit International Auto Show looks set to be a much more sedate affair, organizers are pointing out that it will still feature its share of significant debuts. Chief among them will be the presentation of the Chevrolet Corvette with its centrally placed engine. This car has been anticipated for seemingly forever, the idea for it having floated around company HQ since the 1960s.

There’s no denying, however, that the industry is in flux, and that auto shows are being swept up in the sea changes wracking it along with everything else.