DETROIT - This year's North American International Auto Show in Detroit is different than past years.
There used to be more than 70 vehicle unveilings at the event. This year, there were about 30.
Some automakers, such as Mercedes, Audi and BMW, skipped out on the 2019 show. Luxury cars sit in the places were automakers used to fight for space to display their vehicles.
"It's partly because automakers want to get attention for things, that it's not being distracted by other introductions, and it's partly just product cycles when they have it ready. They want to be able to talk about it," said Joe Weisenelder, Cars.com analyst.
The changes raise questions about challenges that will arise when the auto show moves to June next year. The first challenge is to get automakers to the new show, which requires making sure the summer attendance equals the 800,000 people who visit the January show.
"They [automakers] have an opportunity. They have a clean slate. They can create an event that runs for days with outdoor venues to visit," said Autoexremist.com analyst Peter Delorenzo. "We'll just have to see. It's not automatic though."
General Motors President Mark Reuss believes in the June show.
"Auto shows should and always will play an important role, I think particularly in Detroit. We have to make sure this show is putting our best foot forward. There's a lot of money coming to the city. It's so important and, ya know, it should be a source of pride," he said.
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