Home AUTO SHOWS Ford preps crossover debuts for Frankfurt auto show while rivals pull out

Ford preps crossover debuts for Frankfurt auto show while rivals pull out

Ford Motor Co. will attend the Frankfurt auto show in September in a boost for the event even as rivals such as Toyota and all Fiat Chrysler’s marques decide to skip one of the industry’s top showcases for products.

Ford said it would use the event to showcase a new lineup of crossovers. The vehicles include the latest-generation Kuga and the plug-in hybrid Explorer unveiled in April at an event in Amsterdam when Ford also teased the upcoming Puma crossover. The Puma will be sold in Europe alongside the more utilitarian EcoSport small crossover.

Currently, 22 brands have decided not to exhibit in Frankfurt, according to an Automobilwoche survey.

Ford skipped the last two major European auto shows — Geneva in March and Paris last October — as part of a cost-cutting drive.

“We are not against shows but it’s horses for courses,” a Ford spokesman told Automotive News Europe. Ford prefers to attend shows when it has new product to launch, the spokesman said.

Auto shows have been hit by cost-cutting as automakers review advertising and marketing budgets. More automakers are preferring to launch new vehicles at standalone events that are livestreamed on the Internet or at hands-on shows such as the UK’s Goodwood Festival of Speed.

Germany’s VDA industry association, which stages the Frankfurt show, said attendee numbers this year were “slightly lower” than 2017 levels so far.

“The entire automotive industry is changing, and so is the IAA,” VDA president Bernhard Mattes told Automotive News Europe‘s sister publication Automobilwoche.

New exhibitors will have stands at this year’s show including IBM, Microsoft and Vodafone, said Mattes, who is a former head of Ford’s German operations.

Among automakers that will present debuts during the show’s press days on Sept. 10 and Sept. 11 are Jaguar Land Rover and Honda.

Land Rover will launch the new Defender off-roader in Frankfurt while Honda will show the production version of its E electric minicar.

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