To anyone who attended the 2018 Detroit Auto Show, hearing that Mercedes-Benz likely won't be taking part in the 2019 show might come as a surprise. The Mercedes presence this year was significant, bordering on gigantic. They encased a vintage G-Wagen in fake amber, so how much bigger can you get? But, according to some sources inside Mercedes, there just isn't enough product to justify it.
"We have to look at whether a trade show like Detroit fits with the cadence of our launch calendar and whether there's a more effective format for our needs. The G class was the perfect product to debut this year, but the likelihood we will be in Detroit next January is very slim. That doesn't mean however [that] we are ruling out a return in 2020," reportedly said an anonymous Mercedes exec in a statement to Automotive News.
If this rumor proves true, this could be a potentially massive blow to the North American International Auto Show, which has seen other high-profile brands pulling out in recent years including Porsche, Volvo, Mazda and Jaguar/Land Rover. In some ways, Mercedes opting out makes sense. Detroit isn't necessarily a huge market for sales for the Stuttgart-based manufacturer, and the cost associated with having a booth at the show is astronomical.
The Detroit three (specifically Ford, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler) still own the floor at Cobo Hall in January, and Detroit is where the bulk of their significant debuts are. This year alone we saw a new Ram 1500, a new Silverado, the return of the Ranger and more. Whether we are going to see the auto show model become less relevant and fade away, or perhaps we see other shows pick up the slack remains to be seen.