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Volvo and Audi Pull Out of Montreal, Toronto Auto Shows

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First Mercedes-Benz did it, now two other big auto manufacturers have announced they will skip the next edition of the Montreal auto show in January 2020, as well as the next Toronto event.

The decisions by Audi and Volvo came as a surprise to the Montreal International Auto Show’s Executive Director, Luis Pereira:

“We weren’t expecting that, Volvo especially. In the last discussions we had with Volvo everything was good to go, and then last week we get an email they decided to forego Toronto and Montreal.”

- Luis Pereira, Executive Director, MIAS

In the wake of Mercedes-Benz’ decision, its dealerships made a decision to display vehicles at the two shows just the same. We’ll have to wait and see if Audi and Volvo dealers follow suit. But in any case, the official absence of the brands means there won’t be any new concepts or production models getting revealed.

The organizers of the Montreal show acknowledge they are disappointed, saying that when organizing an automotive event, ideally all automakers are present.

Photo: Volvo

This shift among automakers is not limited to Canada, of course. Volvo has been pulling out of auto shows around the world.

Jason Campbell, General Manager of the Toronto event, known as the Canadian International Auto Show, said he was not that surprised by Volvo’s decision:

“We’ve known this was a possibility for some time. It’s unfortunate. We’d like to have as wide a collection of manufacturers at the show. Last year, there were 40 brands of manufacturers represented at the show, this year there will be 38.”

- Jason Campbell, General Manager, Canadian International Auto Show

Auto shows are undergoing a transformation everywhere around the globe. For media outlets, the widespread publication of information online by automakers means it’s no longer essential to be physically present in order to report on events in real time. Whether Volvo presents a new model or technology at the Montreal show or at an event live-streamed from Dubai, we will cover the event the same way.

There is one group that plainly loses out as a result of this disruption of the traditional way of presenting vehicles, and that is the hundreds of thousands of people – ardent and casual fans alike – who visit auto shows ever year in every part of the globe.

These folks will have less opportunity to discover up close all the latest products coming out. We wonder if in the long run, those brands that boycott traditional auto show won’t lose some of that customer loyalty they so prize.