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Car makers shun Detroit show NAIAS 2009

Thu, 27 Nov 2008

By Simon Stiel

Motor Shows

27 November 2008 11:28

The number of car makers pulling out of Detroit's major auto show, the North American International Auto Show 2009, is growing. The very survival of Detroit is being questioned as Congress debates the $25 billion aid package to save GM, Ford and Chrysler – and now it looks as if the NAIAS is under threat too.

In the past weeks, Ferrari, Land Rover, Rolls Royce, Mitsubishi, Nissan and Suzuki have announced their withdrawal from the show, which is scheduled to begin on 11 January 2009. Car companies are tightening their belts, and multi-million pound motor shows are an obvious target. Particularly the shows that are on the fringes of the international calendar.

What is the absentees' excuse?

Nissan is one company that attended the recent 2008 LA Auto Show but this week confirmed it had pulled out of the 2009 Detroit show. A spokeswoman told CAR the decision was taken by its North American office in a tight budgetary climate. She added that the show clashed with its own launch plans – it would have been too late to unveil the Cube or the 370Z at Detroit or Chicago (it's also withdrawn from the latter).

Is anyone going to Detroit?

You bet. Keep this in perspective – Detroit remains one of the major motor shows of the year, and all the Big Three will naturally attend the Cobo exhibition hall on their doorstep. Unless they close before then, that is. GM is even rumoured to be ditching Saab as part of its survival shake-up, according to a Bloomberg report overnight.

BMW, Mini, Audi, Maserati, Jaguar, Toyota, Volvo and VW are all planning world debuts at the NAIAS, while the organisers are proud that China Brilliance are attending the show for the first time.

Capitalising on a struggling Detroit, the organisers of the Geneva motor show this week issued a statement reminding everyone that it has a bulging attendance list for its 2009 show...

By Simon Stiel