Mercedes is said to consider leaving Detroit auto show

Christoph Rauwald
Bloomberg News

Mercedes-Benz may pull out of the Detroit auto show next year, according to people familiar with the matter, as carmakers increasingly choose to unveil new products at tech shows or their own special events.

A mud covered Mercedes Benz 2016 G-Wagon on display on Monday January 15, 2017 at the North American International Auto Show at Cob Center.

Daimler AG, Mercedes’s parent, is moving toward standalone presentations of new models and technology summits like the CES technology show in Las Vegas, said the people, who asked not to be identified as the plan isn’t public.

The company has also started experimenting with new formats, hosting the Me Convention during Frankfurt’s auto show in September with South by Southwest, organizers of the annual music and technology festival in Austin, Texas. Mercedes exiting the Detroit event, a fixture on the annual car show circuit, would accelerate the trend of carmakers searching out new arenas for presentation.

In recent years, brands including Porsche, Volvo, Jaguar and Mazda have chosen to sit out the North American International Auto Show and use other venues to debut new models.

A final decision hasn’t been made yet and Mercedes might still stick to its presence in Detroit, the people said. Sofia Stauber, a spokeswoman for Daimler, declined to comment. Automotive News earlier reported the potential pullback.

Dieter Zetsche, chairman of the board for Daimler AG, left, and Arnold Schwarzenegger, actor and former governor of California, pose for photos in front of the new Mercedes Benz refresh of the G-Class SUV.

A spokesman for the North American International Auto Show did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Last month, Mercedes – the biggest luxury carmaker – made a splash in Detroit unveiling the revamped G-Class sport utility vehicle, drawing on star power of former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

In January 2017, the Detroit show launched a technology expo known as AutoMobili-D that runs concurrently with the auto show and features speakers and presentations related to self-driving cars, mobility alternatives and other technology-related events. AutoMobili-D was created to compete with the CES show, which takes place the week before media days at the Detroit show.

The Detroit News contributed.