Two years ago, in the depths of the recession, auto shows looked endangered. Some foreign brands dropped out of the Detroit and Frankfurt auto shows; most non-Japanese brands canceled their exhibits at the Tokyo Motor Show. Marketers debated whether auto shows were costly anachronisms in an era of immediate Internet news, social media and citizen-reporters as bloggers.
Where best to spend marketing budgets remains an important question.
But auto shows are back.
Last week, press preview days at the Los Angeles Auto Show were a success, and the industry is gearing up for the next big show in Tokyo. It's clear that few events can match an auto show for generating buzz, for showcasing the designs and technologies of the future, and for energizing both car lovers and average consumers.