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Are auto shows a thing of the past? The recent reveals at the 2024 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas present an argument for these shows continuing onward, but one automotive giant continues to drop out of auto shows. Stellantis gave up participation in several shows this winter and is taking a new approach to these shows, which could become a trend for others to follow.

Red 2024 Fiat 500e Parked. This new electric Fiat could have been revealed at the Los Angeles Auto Show.
2024 Fiat 500e | Fiat

Stellantis missed the last three North American auto shows

It began in October when Stellantis didn’t attend the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show, which is usually one of the biggest and best shows of the fall. Next, the company gave up on the Los Angeles Auto Show, which seemed a bit odd. This could have been where the unveiling of new Fiat 500e occurred, but the company didn’t appear in L.A.

Autoevolution reported that Stellantis also gave up on the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. This show took place this past week, but Stellantis cited the added cost of the UAW strike as a reason to avoid this show.

Why has Stellantis turned its back on auto shows?

Why don’t we see Dodge, Jeep, Chrysler, Fiat, or Ram models at the most recent shows? Stellantis blames this change on the “challenging automotive market,” which is a bit of a cop-out. Automakers can cite any time in the history of the automotive industry as challenging. Could there be more to it than this?

The development of online presentations and individualized event announcements could replace auto shows as a way for many automakers to showcase their new vehicles. Stellantis has found success with online reveals and has realized these presentations are much less expensive than attending an auto show.

How will consumers get their hands on Stellantis vehicles?

From now on, if Stellantis-branded dealers want to attend local events in their cities, they must pay for attendance and handle the show logistics. Instead of attending these shows across North America, Stellantis intends to prioritize customer experiences. Most auto shows, although attended by the public, don’t allow consumers to experience vehicles firsthand. This occurs at the dealership during a test drive.

Is Stellantis setting a trend or pinching pennies?

The cost savings of dropping out of car shows throughout the winter helps mitigate the impact of the UAW strike. Using online presentations and dealership displays could set a new tone for other automakers.

Are we seeing the beginning of the end of car shows, or will most automakers continue to attend the shows? Is Stellantis acts as the penny-pinching Scrooge of the industry? We’ll soon find out.