The Montreal International Auto Show sits between the proverbial rock and a hard place, sandwiched between shows in Detroit. Mich., and Toronto. Management says the timing isn’t so bad as to cause it to move to another time slot in the season, however.
Montreal’s show (Jan. 20-29 this year), has been the first Canadian auto show each year since 1969, landing hard on the heels of the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit (Jan. 8-22), and ahead of the Canadian International AutoShow in Toronto (Feb. 17-26).
“It’s an annual challenge,” says show CEO Luis Perreira, but being first in the country has its advantages. “For the production models it’s not a big problem; carmakers have enough of them and can supply both Detroit and Montréal. The problem is in the concept cars; most of the time those models are unique and if [one is] displayed in Detroit we won’t get it in Montreal. So we have to pick models that were fea-tured a year before.”
But contrary to Detroit, where some car companies are not showing up, Montréal attracts virtually all of them.
“The only car company missing this year was Tesla, and they told us they would be here next year,” Perreira said.
In Detroit many of the exotics have been “out of the picture” in recent years, he said, including Ferrari, Lamborghini, Bentley, Rolls-Royce and Aston Martin. In addition to those names, the 2017 NAIAS also had to do without participation from Porsche, Jaguar Land Rover, Mini, Mitsubishi and Tesla. All those names (but Tesla) were in Montréal and will be in Toronto.
Despite the timing, Perreira hasn’t seriously considered moving the show dates for many years. “There are many reasons for this. First, we have to consider the calendar and the physical building where the show is held.”
Even though it overlaps the dates for Detroit, Montreal is the first major Canadian auto show, “and we always get more premieres than Toronto or other major Canadian shows.
“Second, le Palais des Congrès, where it is staged, is a popular venue for many major conventions and it would be hard to take over this facility at another time in the season. We tried many years ago to [move] the show to November to be ahead of Detroit, but the attendance was not good. People were shopping for Christmas.”
And moving to March is not an option, “because Toronto would be in front of us and it would get all the premieres.”