Mercedes-Benz has pulled out of next year’s Canadian International AutoShow (CIAS) in Toronto as well as the Montreal International Auto Show, continuing a trend that has seen the manufacturer withdraw from other shows in Canada and around the world.
“Mercedes-Benz Canada continuously evaluates our events portfolio to ensure that each of our initiatives provides the best opportunities to fulfil our strategic priorities,” Virginie Aubert, vice-president, marketing at Mercedes-Benz Canada, said in an email to Automotive News Canada. “After careful consideration, we have made the decision to no longer participate in Canadian auto shows as of 2020.”
Mercedes-Benz has pulled out of shows in Detroit, New York and Chicago in the last two years.
The decision to stop attending Canadian shows was made by Mercedes-Benz Canada for its market and executives there can't speak to plans in other markets except what has been publicly announced.
CIAS General Manager Jason Campbell told Automotive News Canada that he was not surprised when informed by a Mercedes-Benz official of the decision because he had been advised a few weeks earlier by the Montreal Auto Show that the German automobile manufacturer was pulling out of that event. Mercedes Benz withdrew from shows in Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton and Quebec City last year.
“As they weren’t responding to our formal request for space, it was something we had a suspicion about,” Campbell said. “Sometimes companies do make these decisions. Nissan pulled out a few years ago and Volvo pulled out a few years ago, and they’ve come back into the show. Porsche pulled out and it took them a number of years to get back in.
"We would of course prefer to have Mercedes in the show, but individual companies will make their own decisions. We will continue to put on a great show and be the biggest consumer marketplace for new car sales in the country. We believe [Mercedes] will be convinced, and miss their experience at the show and hopefully look to reverse that decision in 2021.”
Campbell said CIAS organizers are speaking with other manufacturers about occupying the space vacated by Mercedes.
“We want to see who wants to … gain more square footage, which is a common problem that we haven’t been able to give more space to those that wanted more space. That space is currently being re-assigned and given to others. We have a full roster of every other manufacturer in the country participating and we won’t have a big, empty floor space. We’ll grow to fill the space.”
Monteal organizers were shocked at the luxury automaker's decision.
"We were contacted in June that they were pulling out of the show and clearly we were disappointed," Montreal International Auto Show Executive Director Luis Pereira said. "We weren't expecting that.
“When we put on a show, it's important that all the manufacturers are represented because Montreal is more of a public show than a media show. Visitors want to see all the manufacturers present."
Pereira said he is in talks with Mercedes-Benz dealers in Montreal to have some cars from the manufacturer present in the show.
"Quite a few years ago we had Porsche and Volvo leave the show. We supported Porsche and invited them to the show and dealers came with some cars, so at least people were able to compare and shop with the Porsche dealers at the show. We intend to do that with Mercedes-Benz as well."
Pereira added that his show will try to use the vacant space to do other things, such as expand its Electric Zone.