Spending on EVs, inventory shortages weigh on 2023 Canadian auto shows


All General Motors and Stellantis brands have returned, with Stellantis doubling its space from 2020, he said. Hyundai and Nissan have increased their display space, while Toyota, Lexus, Kia and Subaru have all maintained the size of their displays.

A new entrant, Vietnam-based electric-vehicle maker Vinfast, has booked 9,000 square feet (800 square metres).

“When we heard about Ford’s departure, we created a large, indoor EV test track in the space,” Campbell said. The additional 70,000 square feet (6,500 square metres) will be open to any manufacturer exhibiting EVs.

“I think [Ford’s decision is] a sign that we’ve all gone through some challenges in the auto sector with product shortages and it’s caused some people to reconsider,” Campbell said.

“We’re still very confident there are a lot of consumers and brands that are enthusiastic about sharing their products.”

GM spokesman Philippe-Andre Bisson said Nov. 30 the automaker had committed to the Toronto and Montreal auto shows but was still deciding whether to exhibit at regional shows.

Robert Karwel, senior manager of the Power Information Network, Canada, for J.D. Power, and Bennett think auto shows still have a future, but in different forms going forward.

“There are still too many of us who enjoy the look and feel of experiencing a large group of vehicles in one venue,” Karwel said. “But spending decisions [by automakers] are jutting up against the reality of EVs: They require tremendous investment, and OEMs need to ensure their costs are in check during the long transition.

“So, they will review any and all costs and determine what might be shed.”

DEALER-DRIVEN SHOWS POSSIBLE?

Bennett expects auto shows will continue but will have to reinvent themselves.

“Will they become more retailer-funded shows? Some of the shows may end up in a different format, perhaps dealer-driven.”

Bennett points to the work done to change the CIAS.

“They have done a really wonderful job of trying to reinvent,” he said. “I just hope they get a chance. There are still a lot of auto enthusiasts out there who want to see products.”

Campbell of CIAS points to one advantage that auto shows have over alternate events.

“At direct events, manufacturers get to talk to their own consumers,” he said. “What the auto show does is give them a chance to talk to their competitors’ consumers.”



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