For many automotive enthusiasts, car shows are the highlight of the year. They provide an exciting opportunity to get a sneak peak at upcoming models, as well as a taste of some of the more futuristic concepts that car companies are working on. They also perform a valuable social function, bringing together car lovers from all over the world and allowing them to network and share ideas. But is the car show in danger of becoming a thing of the past?
The Popularity Of Car Shows Is Declining
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, the popularity of car shows was declining. With vehicle specs available online and high tech features fitted as standard on most mid-range models, car shows have also lost their sense of excitement. This is clear from attendance numbers, with four of the last five major global car shows suffering a decline in footfall.
The Impact Of COVD-19
If things were bad before the COVID-19 outbreak, they have only got worse since. With mass gatherings banned throughout the spring and summer, many major car shows were cancelled. Although things are slowly returning to normal, it could still be a long time before large events are permitted. Even if car shows are allowed to return in the near future, many people will not feel comfortable attending until there is a COVID-19 vaccine available. This could be months or even years away, raising the question of whether car shows will return at all.
As well as safety concerns, there are also economic factors in play. The pandemic has devastated the car industry, with European car sales dropping 55% in March and new registrations in April down a massive 95%. Exhibiting cars at a show is expensive and many companies who are already in financial trouble will be unwilling to take the risk. Even if car shows go ahead in 2021, it is likely that many companies will pull out.
The Move Online
As with many other industries, the solution could be to move online. Major events such as GIMS moved online in 2020, and this could become the norm in 2021. While online shows may lack some of the fun and excitement of the real thing, they will at least give struggling car companies a much-needed chance to show off their latest models.
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