The organizers of the Brussels Motor Show are announcing the presence of 95% of the market at the motor show opening its doors (for the press and VIP guests) tomorrow. However, it’s only 85% considering that Mercedes-Benz and Jaguar Land Rover will only be ‘symbolically’ present. Volvo and Mercedes explain that they prefer organizing their own ‘quality and premium’ events instead of being present at the show.
Volvo Belgium announced its total absence at the show already earlier. For years, the brand has already decided to skip motor shows worldwide. However, in 2020, an exception was made for the Brussels motor show because many sales contracts were still concluded there. Meanwhile, the pandemic and the subsequent cancellation of all motor shows have proven to the Swedes that they have other possibilities to reach their clientele.
Mercedes-Benz and Jaguar Land Rover are only present in the Brussels expo halls with a few ‘special cars’, part of the separate ‘luxury display’ shown at the BMS under the name ‘The Avenue’. The rest of the motor show will be held at the dealers themselves, like in previous ‘pandemic’ years.
Apart from that, Volvo will organize roadshows during the whole year of 2023 with its all-new and fully electric EX 90, and Mercedes Belux has created a sort of igloo space where they want to invite their most important fleet clients. The igloos will move from Overijse (near Brussels) to Deinze (near Ghent) and Gembloux in the French part of the country (Namur province).
“Not being present at the motor show doesn’t mean that we are saving money,” the spokesmen of both brands precise. “We will do our investments otherwise, on social media and with events where we can invite potential clients totally on our terms. We prefer to have these prospects coming directly to our dealerships.”
These importers of premium car brands point to cars getting ever more expensive and complex. “You can’t give a quality explanation anymore on a crowdy motor show; you must put the clients in the car, give a lengthy explanation, and eventually have a test drive. That’s not possible anymore at the show.”
The global strategy of Mercedes-Benz has also changed lately. Mercedes wants to be ‘the’ luxury brand and focus on selling fewer cars but much more expensive ones. Doing so needs organizing memorable experiences for demanding clients and providing comfort items that the competitors lack.
That’s why Mercedes has recently decided to develop a worldwide network of power chargers, commencing in the US. The network will be open for non-Mercedes drivers, but only Mercedes clients can make a reservation. During booming EV sales and a charging network struggling to follow course, this can be an actual comfort argument for newly converted EV owners.
Upgraded Jaguar i-Pace
The reasons for Jaguar Land Rover to skip the show may be slightly different. Last year, the sales of Jaguar halved in Belgium and Luxembourg, and those of Land Rover also regressed by more than 13%.
One could think that would be an excellent reason to invest in a motor show presence, but the problem is that there are no actual new products to show, except maybe for the new top-of-the-line Range Rover. But that, by definition, is a vehicle that needs a lot of explanation and a more profound acquaintance during special events.
At Jaguar, there’s a complete standstill of new models as the company is reorganizing itself into an electric luxury brand, with the first new models only arriving in 2025. The most important novelty for the brand is the upgraded i-Pace. It now has a WLTP range of 470 km and can be charged on a three-phase AC socket.
The equipment level has also been refined, and clients can now reserve more sporty R-Dynamic models. Unfortunately, the price has hiked upward too: the revised i-Pace will be available in Belgium starting at €93 900.