Mercedes-Benz confirms it will skip Detroit auto show in 2019

Mercedes-Benz confirms it will skip Detroit auto show in 2019
The Daimler AG Mercedes-Benz G-Class vehicle is unveiled at the 2018 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. (Daniel Acker/Bloomberg)

Mercedes-Benz confirmed it will have no formal presence at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit next year, striking a blow to the iconic car event as more manufacturers save big reveals for tech conferences or their own special showcases.

Mercedes said the “rising complexity” of the auto industry and the slew of products and services it’s developing prompted it to reassess its participation in the Detroit show. The German automaker will decide on participating in future auto shows and events on a case-by-case basis.

“We are presently working to adjust the scale and size of our auto shows and trade fairs concepts to better align with our upcoming model launches,” the company said in an e-mailed statement.

Max Muncey, a spokesman for the Detroit auto show, confirmed Mercedes will skip the event next year, noting that the show is “actively discussing future opportunities” with the brand. Initial meetings with tech and car companies for the 2019 show have “hinted at some big product news earmarked for Detroit,” he added.

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

Daimler AG, Mercedes’s parent, is moving toward standalone presentations of new models and technology summits like CES in Las Vegas, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg News.

Since Mercedes began producing vehicles at its Alabama plant in Tuscaloosa County, it has used the Detroit auto show to unveil a number of them to the world. Some Alabama-related highlights from the North American International Auto Show include:

  • 1996 – unveiled the AAVision concept of the M-Class that would be the first vehicle produced at the Alabama plant;
  • 1998 – winning the North American Truck of the Year Award for the M-Class;
  • 2005 – unveiled the second-generation M-Class;
  • 2006 – unveiled the new GL-Class;
  • 2007 – unveiled the diesel GL-Class.

Mercedes has unveiled other new Alabama-built vehicles at auto shows in New York and Stuttgart, Germany. Mercedes has only once unveiled a vehicle in Alabama, and that was the first production model of the M-Class unveiled to 6,000 attendees from 60 countries at the grand opening of the Tuscaloosa plant.

(With assistance from Michael Tomberlin from Alabama NewsCenter. Contact the reporters on this story at [email protected] and [email protected].)

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