How Can Car Shows Survive the Pandemic?

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Andrew Koole
Updated on Apr 27, 2022 · 3 min read
Event industries like live music, theatre, and sports are going through some tough times because of
, so it comes as no surprise that car shows are also struggling. But participation at car shows was already down before the
pandemic hit
, for consumers and automakers alike.
The IAA Mobility Show, formerly known as the Frankfurt International Motor Show, plans to turn that story around. The exhibition held its first show under a new banner and in a new city this year. The changes didn’t end there.
All types of transportation were welcome to participate in the event, from
to public transit. Much of the event was held outdoors in locations around Munich, Germany, turning it into more of a festival than an industry conference.
Attendees say the shift could bring the idea of the car show into the 21st Century.
Will car shows return after the pandemic?

What caused the car show decline?

All the industry-leading car shows were canceled last year thanks to the pandemic, from the Chicago Auto Show and the North American International Auto Show in Detriot to the Geneva International Motor Show in Switzerland.
But the
New York Times
says automakers were already opting out of paying for floor space at these big events, choosing instead to connect to potential buyers online and on their own. That trend continued as lockdowns prevented face-to-face transactions.
Volkswagen, for example, held its "Power Day" in March 2021. The Times says five million people watched the single-day event from across the globe. The Chicago Auto Show only drew 100,000 this year—over five days.

Besides being outside, how was the IAA Mobility Show different?

The German Association of the Automotive Industry, the organization that hosts the IAA Mobility Show every two years, changed the experience of the car expo by offering exhibit space throughout Munich, but the mindset behind the event goes much deeper than a venue change.
Industry trends toward sustainable powertrains and autonomous driving were at the core of the event’s message. Panel discussions for industry insiders covered topics like "decarbonizing the automotive supply chain" and "manage your
The North American International Auto Show may have taken a few notes from IAA Mobility’s plans. This year’s event was also held outdoors, at the M1 Concourse racetrack in Pontiac, Michigan.
But based on the description in the Times, that event will focus more on adrenaline than carbon footprints.

Buying a new car in 2021

This year is not the easiest time to find a good price for a new car. Microchip shortages and other supply chain issues have drastically slowed the production of new vehicles, while increased demand brought on by fading of the pandemic drove prices up.
The price tag on a new car might be higher than usual, but you can still save on other expenses like
car insurance
. You just have to shop around for the best rate.
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