The Frankfurt Motor Show is one of the biggest motor shows on the calendar and was once considered a must-attend event for the world’s motor manufacturers. Not so now. With the number of marques skipping it this year, you could fill the halls of an entire new motor show.
Even the organisers admit change is afoot, saying “the social and political environment are very different from previous events. It is no longer essential to present everything, but instead to provide the right impulses”. These are the absentees.
Ferrari is perhaps the most notable omission from Frankfurt this year. Why? Well, in the past it’s been a key participant in the show. The 430 Scuderia, 458 Italia and 458 Speciale are just a few of the major debuts Ferrari brought to Frankfurt. It also has plenty to show off. Apart from the new SF90 hybrid hypercar, the F8 Spider and 812 GTS drop-top models are both hot off the press.
Alpine is staying home for Frankfurt this year. Frankly, we’re not surprised, given that it’s a relatively small company that needs to closely manage its expenses. With no new cars to share with Frankfurt show-goers, and the A110 getting plenty of good reviews, there’s perhaps no need.
Meanwhile, Aston Martin seems to have something all-new coming every week. With its first SUV ready to be revealed, and a range of mid-engined exotica waiting in the wings, why wouldn’t Aston go to Frankfurt? The marque has a few tough questions to answer around share prices, truth be told, and Geneva always seems to be its mainstay.
Alfa Romeo is staying back from Frankfurt as well, joining Ferrari in what seems to be quite the FCA boycott. In fairness to Alfa, we’re not aware of anything pressing that they have to show off. A Frankfurt stand could be an expensive way of making that quite apparent.
The ‘C’ in FCA joins the wider group in abstaining from Frankfurt and we don’t blame it. Chrysler is without much in the way of Europe-centric offerings at the moment.
Slightly more confusing is the lack of Fiat, and therefore Abarth. Unlike the Chrysler side of the FCA operation, Fiat is the European element. However, with the new 500 nowhere in sight and a replacement for the Punto a great unknown, what purpose would a show stand serve?
Nissan too is declining Frankfurt – a curious omission from such a major brand. The show this year has been marred by environmental protests, so given Nissan’s recent trouble with emissions, staying away may prove a good call.
Taking the prize for the least surprising Frankfurt absentee is Infiniti. Given that it’s finally given up the ghost and announced its exit from Europe, attendance at Frankfurt would feel odd to say the least.
Having just launched its new 3 family hatch and saloon, as well as the CX-30 SUV, both with a clever new Skyactiv-X engine, should Mazda be showing off at Frankfurt? Given the focus on future tech and curbing emissions, you’d think it would have a strong hand to play. That’s not even taking into account the 30th anniversary of the MX-5. Ho hum.
Following in the footsteps of fellow luxury brands Aston Martin and Ferrari, here’s Rolls-Royce. The maker of the ‘Best Car in the World’ has nothing new to show at Frankfurt, and what it does offer is selling well. Not that Rolls is known for restraint and considered spending, but a Frankfurt stand might feel a little gratuitous.
Also, it doesn’t have Bentley to contend with. The flying B is also skipping Frankfurt. It does have a fair bit more to show off, though. The fantastic EXP 100 concept, the continuation Blower models and the new Flying Spur, to name but three. Not enough, it seems, to warrant floor space in Frankfurt. For shame!
Back down to Earth with Toyota. This is a curious one, but we’ve been given a reason. Its skipping of Frankfurt is part of “a review of marketing activity and spending”.
Dacia, in the ultimate considered approach to spending, is also omitting Frankfurt from its calendar. The budget brand in the Renault-Nissan group joins Mitsubishi in skipping the German show. Renault will be in attendance, though, with a new Clio, and hopefully a Megane with a certain German lap record to show off.
The other French marques will not be in Frankfurt, though. PSA is mostly staying away, save for Vauxhall’s sister brand, Opel. With Peugeot’s recent upmarket leanings and its electric 208 on the horizon, we thought it would be out in force at Frankfurt. Alas, no.
Speaking of upmarket leanings, PSA’s pretender to German premium appeal is also missing out. And so is sister-brand Citroen.
More surprising an omission than you might think are a couple of key General Motors marques. Firstly, Cadillac: as it takes aim at the German marques, you’d think it would show up on their home turf for a throwdown.
Is Chevy skipping Frankfurt a surprise? Actually, it is. If you’re preparing to launch one of the most hotly-anticipated sports cars of the last decade – the mid-engined Corvette – shouldn’t you be showing it off?
Another marque with not an awful lot to present is Subaru. The theme at this year’s show seems to be bleeding edge technology – not words we’d use to describe anything launched over six months ago.
You’d think Volvo’s focus on safety and emissions would work well at Frankfurt. Yet even with its fresh-faced lineup looking stronger than ever, the Swedes will be missing from the show.
Suzuki is in the business of cutting back at the moment. The new Swift and Jimny are appealing, but it has removed the Baleno and Celerio from UK sale. Frankfurt would be a big spend with not an awful lot to show off.
Who is at Frankfurt?
With all this talk of who isn’t at Frankfurt, we should highlight the important stuff that WILL be there. The Volkswagen Group will present a hotly anticipated two-prong EV effort, with the VW ID.3 and the Porsche Taycan. And there’s the new Land Rover Defender, of course.
Frankfurt will be a big show, but it’s only attracting those with something to show. Check out our guide to the must-see new cars at this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show.