DETROIT -- Toyota and Lexus will remain active in auto shows around the U.S. but aim their displays and their spending more directly at consumers and less at the media, brand leaders told Automotive News on Thursday.
"We are making adjustments," said Bob Carter, head of sales for Toyota Motor North America. "Auto shows are still a critical part of the business, and they're critical from a consumer perspective. Most buyers — 35 percent of the people who are going to buy a car in the next 12 months — stop by an auto show. It's a very important place to communicate."
Carter said he was "shocked" by Mercedes-Benz's decision to skip the 2020 New York auto show, given the size of the market and its importance to the luxury segment. He said Lexus and Toyota would continue to have a presence in New York and other large and regional shows, but that the automaker may aim its marketing dollars more at experiential marketing at the shows — including ride-and-drives at auto shows — instead of press conferences.
"What you will see us do is align our investments to those shows relative to the size of the markets," Carter said. "We'll adjust the investment on media days, but to the consumer, it's still the place to be."
Carter said Toyota and Lexus planned to launch 31 new vehicles or derivatives of existing vehicles over the next three years — seven more than it had done over the previous 36-month period.