Are automakers confusing CES in Las Vegas with an auto show?

Traditional car manufacturers are increasingly participating in the CES (Consumer Electronic Show) in Las Vegas, the largest in terms of new technologies. To the point where we’ll see if they don’t mix it with a classic motor show?

CES Las Vegas is the largest international trade show dedicated to technology. It covers an extremely diverse range of topics that Numerama resonates with, and naturally, mobility has become more and more important over the years. Based on the principle that cars are increasingly connected, intelligent, dependent on software development, car manufacturers and suppliers have occupied the aisles of the international exhibition to showcase their innovations and new products. With each publication, their number is increasing.

Many automakers remember it as a tech show, where the media and public travel to discover the latest trends. Like Sony and its Afeela brand, or BMW unveiling its i Vision Dee concept in 2023, it’s more than just an electric car. On the other hand, other manufacturers see it only as a way to appeal to the North American market, somewhat losing the technological and innovative spirit of the show.

BMW i Vision Dee can change color. // Source: BMW presentation shot

Declining car shows can be replaced by tech shows

Initially, the two types of shows complemented each other in the strategy of different car groups. In addition, international car shows such as the Paris Motor Show, the IAA in Munich or the Geneva International Motor Show for Europe are losing momentum or being left out of the international program altogether. As we saw at the last Mondial de Paris, exhibitors are increasingly rejecting them.

American showrooms in Detroit and Los Angeles also saw a marked drop in attendance. On the other hand, tech fairs continue to attract exhibitors, media and visitors despite the pandemic. For big brands, they have become an opportunity to show their products on a large scale, even if the technological aspect is not always there, which we can regret.

Volkswagen, Mercedes and Stellantis sometimes flirt with the trivial

The presence of certain manufacturers in the 2023 edition was mainly due to the desire to communicate with the American target:

  • Volkswagen presents a camouflaged version of the ID.7 for sale in the United States.
  • Mercedes announces the launch of its own charging network in North America.
  • RAM from the Stellantis group unveils the 100% electric Ram 1500 Revolution concept for North America.
RAM 1500 evolution concept // Source: Stellantis presentation video
RAM 1500 evolution concept // Source: Stellantis presentation video

Peugeot’s choice to present the Inception concept at CES Las Vegas rather than in Paris also raises questions. Even if the technology is in concept, the brand is completely absent in the North American territory. It remains a surprising decision that the Stellantis group invested more in CES in Las Vegas than in Mondial de Paris. Even if Chrysler, Dodge and Ram play local.

Peugeot Inception Concept at CES Las Vegas // Source: Peugeot CES live video recording
Peugeot Inception Concept at CES Las Vegas // Source: Peugeot CES live video recording

Over the years, many manufacturers have used the showcase that CES provides, even if it’s about going there to launch electric cars without a major technological revolution. Many find other updates on topics closer to the original theme of the show.

CES is no longer just a show for startup car startups

Thanks to the media coverage of CES, several electric car projects have been launched. Several “Tesla killers” such as Byton, Faraday Future (still available in 2023) have started their adventures with demonstrations full of promise and innovation.

Faraday at CES
Faraday at CES 2017

Other brands such as Vinfast (Vietnam) and Togg (Turkey) use it as a global showcase to support the international launch of their brands and ranges. In their case, it’s a matter of visibility.

Mobility is changing. Cars are now electric, connected, fun, even autonomous. The CES show has always known how to evolve with the times. After all, there is nothing surprising in the fact that it has become one of the unmissable meetings for certain car manufacturers to meet GAFAM and other startups. Sometimes we even want a little more technology at a tech show.

Numerama is in Las Vegas for CES 2023

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *