The Montreal International Auto Show has been stunned by the defection of two more manufacturers that have decided not to display their cars at the 2020 event.
Volvo and Audi have joined Mercedes-Benz in defecting from the show.
“It’s clearly a surprise,” MIAS Executive Director Luis Pereira told Automotive News Canada. “We weren’t expecting that, Volvo especially. In the last discussions we had with Volvo everything was good to go, and then last week we get an email they decided to forego Toronto and Montreal.”
Mercedes-Benz will not be represented with displays at any of the 2020 Canadian auto shows, although some local dealers have decided to show some of the brand’s vehicles at the Montreal show.
This is the second time in recent years that Volvo has pulled out of the Montreal and Toronto shows.
“I’m waiting to speak to somebody from Volvo to get their take on the decision,” Pereira added. “With Audi and Volvo [out], it’s a huge impact. When we put on an auto show, we want all the manufacturers present.”
A Volvo Car Canada spokeswoman said the decision to not attend the Montreal show was made to align with the automaker’s directive to pull back from the entire auto show circuit.
“At Volvo Car Canada we are always looking for new and innovative ways to showcase our products and after carefully evaluating our available options, we have opted to not participate in the major Canadian shows including the 2020 Vancouver International Auto Show,” Amanda Ignatius wrote in an email.
However, she did say Volvo cars would be at shows in Calgary, Edmonton and Quebec City.
Pereira is under the impression the decision by Audi to skip the show was made by local dealers and is not a corporate move.
“What are the reasons behind that? I don’t know, but that’s the word that we got,” Pereira said. “Audi is a very popular car in Quebec. The people that visit our show are traditionalists. They want to see all the manufacturers there. They like to touch, feel and sit in these vehicles and not having Audi and Volvo there [the attendees] will be disappointed.”
Audi Canada spokesman Court Neilson said it was a joint decision between the automaker and its Canadian dealers to withdraw from the show.
Canadian International Auto Show General Manager Jason Campbell was not as surprised by Volvo’s decision. He said Volvo has a global directive not to participate in auto shows.
“We’ve known this was a possibility for some time,” Campbell said. “It’s unfortunate. We’d like to have as wide a collection of manufacturers at the show. Last year, there were 40 brands of manufacturers represented at the show, this year there will be 38.”
Pereira said manufacturers that opt out of auto shows are missing out on a great marketing initiative.
“It’s their decision and we wish them luck with that, but we still tend to believe the auto show is an important market place for these people,” Pereira said. “Anybody who wants to visit the auto show it’s the place to be, nobody can tell me otherwise. All the manufacturers are under one roof. It’s the best way to shop and compare. It’s their decision. They always can come back. We will have the doors open for them and hopefully they will come back in 2021.”