Why Rolls-Royce stopped exhibiting at car shows

According to advertising guru Rory Sutherland, Rolls-Royce and several other luxury car brands are ditching car shows and are instead exhibiting elsewhere.

by | Published on 14th Jun 2023

For many of us gearheads, car shows are the highlight of the year.

They provide an exciting opportunity to get a sneak peek at upcoming models, as well as a taste of some of the more futuristic concepts that car companies are working on.

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But now some automakers, including Rolls-Royce, are no longer exhibiting at car shows.

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 lost their sense of excitement.

This is clear from attendance numbers, with four of the past five major global car shows suffering a decline in footfall.

For example, the Frankfurt Motor Show held its final event in 2019.

Formerly one of the biggest car shows in Europe, attendance at the Frankfurt Motor Show had declined considerably.

Car shows have struggled to maintain popularity among manufacturers as well.

Previously, car shows were the best way for automakers to preview their vehicles to the public.

Now, though, carmakers can showcase their vehicles online without paying the high costs of car shows.

According to advertising guru Rory Sutherland, automakers like Rolls-Royce and Maserati prefer to exhibit at plane shows.

The thought process behind this is, if you’ve been looking at Learjets all afternoon, a $400,000 car is an impulse buy. 

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While this is very interesting – and certainly makes sense – it might just be that manufacturers are thinking about return on investment, and are becoming more picky.

To stay relevant, organizers are facing more pressure than ever to evolve with the times and incentivizing manufacturers to get involved.



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Adam Gray is an experienced motoring journalist and content creator based in the United Kingdom. Using his media accreditation with motor manufacturers’ press offices, Adam test drives the latest cars and attends new vehicle press launches, producing written reviews and news pieces for supercarblondie.com. Before joining the Supercar Blondie team, Adam was Motoring Editor for Portfolio North magazine, North East Motoring Editor at Reach plc, and provided motoring content on a freelance basis to several lifestyle and business publications in the North of England. When he’s not behind the wheel of the latest car, Adam can be found at his local rink playing ice hockey or supporting his beloved Middlesbrough FC.

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