VW core brand pulls out of Paris auto show

The Gulf Today - Business - - FRONT PAGE -

BER­LIN: Volk­swa­gen’s core au­tos brand will skip the Paris mo­tor show this year, the com­pany said on Thurs­day, be­com­ing the lat­est and most prominent car­maker to ditch the bi­en­nial in­dus­try gath­er­ing in the French cap­i­tal.

Since the VW emis­sions scan­dal erupted in 2015, Europe’s largest au­to­mo­tive group has scaled back brand pre­sen­ta­tions at tra­di­tional car shows, in­clud­ing Detroit and Frank­furt, partly as a cost-cut­ting mea­sure but also mir­ror­ing an sec­tor trend.

“The Volk­swa­gen brand is con­tin­u­ally re­view­ing its par­tic­i­pa­tion in in­ter­na­tional mo­tor shows,” the car­maker said on Thurs­day. In­stead of par­tic­i­pat­ing with its own stand at the Oct. 2-3 show, Volk­swa­gen (VW) said it could host “var­i­ous com­mu­ni­ca­tions ac­tiv­i­ties” in the French cap­i­tal.

VW’S lux­ury divi­sion Audi last year trimmed its pres­ence in Frank­furt, which hosts Europe’s largest auto show in al­ter­nate years. Audi will also skip the 2019 Detroit show, where the Volk­swa­gen group at­tended with a sig­nif­i­cantly re­duced line-up this year.

Many of the tra­di­tional in­dus­try gath­er­ings have regis­tered a drop in vis­i­tor num­bers since the turn of this cen­tury.

Among the rea­sons for the de­cline is the emer­gence of tech­nol­ogy as the main bat­tle­ground for con­nected, au­tonomous cars, which has drawn ex­hibitors to com­pet­ing events such as the Con­sumer Elec­tron­ics Show (CES) in Las Ve­gas and the Mo­bile World Congress in Barcelona.

A spokesman for VW’S French op­er­a­tions said that Audi, sports car brand Porsche, Czech divi­sion Skoda and Span­ish unit Seat are still due to at­tend the Paris show.

VW’S head­quar­ters in Wolfs­burg, Ger­many, said the de­ci­sion to skip the 2018 event does not mean the VW brand will also stay away from the next Paris show in 2020.

The Volk­swa­gen e-golf Touch car is dis­played on me­dia day at the Paris auto show in the French cap­i­tal. File/reuters

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