Motown Letdown: FCA Ices Detroit Auto Show To Introduce New Model At CES In Las Vegas – Forbes

Posted: Saturday, December 10, 2016

The next thing we could hear is that Fiat Chrysler isn’t going to advertise in the Super Bowl this year.

FCA stuck a finger in the eye of Detroit by confirming a report that, for the first time in seven years, neither the Chrysler “Imported From Detroit” brand nor any of its stablemates is going to launch a new vehicle model at the Detroit auto show next month. And to add insult to injury, FCA plans instead to introduce some new model at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas just the week before.

The company declined to tell the Detroit Free Press what model that might be, but it doesn’t matter: By staying on the launch sidelines at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit and instead revealing a new product at CES, FCA has just committed one more turn of the screw in the relocation of the center of gravity of the auto industry toward Silicon Valley and away from Flyover Country.

NAIAS and CES have emerged as huge rivals over the last three years as more automakers choose to play to the thousands of digitally baptized journalists, bloggers, producers and so on who throng to Vegas for the tech show, instead of keeping all of their model news to share at the Detroit show that offers thousands of auto-industry reporters from around the world. GM CEO Mary Barra opened the floodgates last year by choosing to take the major step of previewing the new Chevrolet Bolt all-electric car at CES before bringing Bolt to NAIAS a week later.

The leakage of some of the industry’s most technologically advanced announcements to CES has afflicted not only NAIAS but other major traditional auto shows as well. That’s why NAIAS this year plans to layer a huge new show called Automobili-D on top of the traditional auto exhibition and why the Los Angeles Auto Show last month added significantly more attention to automated driving, mobility services and other related technologies as well.

But Rod Alberts, executive director of NAIAS and head of the sponsoring Detroit Auto Dealers Association, took the high road with his reaction to the news. “Sometimes product cycle launches do not coincide with show dates,” Alberts said.

And NAIAS noted that, while the Chrysler group of brands won’t launch a new product at the Detroit show for the first time since recession-scarred 2010, FCA actually has increased its commitment to floor space at 2017 NAIAS by 5,000 square feet, with a new standalone exhibit for Alfa Romeo.

Besides, NAIAS noted, the show will have “nearly 60 hours of presentation content form OEMS, suppliers, technology companies and startups” in press conferences and other venues. And there will be “very significant reveals” during the show from Toyota, BMW and other automakers. That roster reportedly includes GM and Ford.

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