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

Ford teased the Puma, one of the future additions to its SUV lineup, at an event in Amsterdam.

Ford Motor said it 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 new products.

Ford said it would use the event to showcase its new lineup of SUV/crossovers, including the latest-generation Kuga and the plug-in hybrid Explorer unveiled in April at an event in Amsterdam when Ford also teased its Puma upcoming small SUV. The Puma has sporty styling and will be sold in Europe alongside the more utilitarian EcoSport small SUV.

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 think more carefully about their advertising and marketing budgets. More automakers are preferring to launch new cars 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.

EV launches

German automakers will, as usual, use the event as a major showcase.

Volkswagen brand will launch its bid to become the world’s biggest producer of electric cars with the public debut of its ID3, a battery-powered compact car that will have driving ranges of between 330 km (205 miles) and 550 km (342 miles) depending on the battery size. The entry-level ID3 will be priced below 30,000 euros ($33,448) in Germany.

BMW will show its latest-generation 1 series hatchback.

Porsche will debut the Taycan, its first series production full-electric car.

Among foreign brands that have debuts is Kia with its XCeed compact crossover. Volkswagen Group’s Seat brand will unveil the new Leon hatchback while Skoda is expected to show the replacement for its top-seller, the Octavia compact car.

Renault said it will be at Frankfurt but “in a slightly different format.”

Absentees grow

Other brands skipping the show include Nissan, Volvo, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Rolls-Royce and Aston Martin.

PSA Group’s Peugeot, Citroen and DS brands will not be present but Opel, PSA’s German marque, will have a stand.

As things stand at the moment, 22 brands have decided not to exhibit in Frankfurt, according to an Automobilwoche survey.

Fiat Chrysler said it had decided to concentrate on just one auto show this year, the Geneva show in March.

Subaru and Suzuki will be missing. A Subaru spokeswoman said: “As a small importer, we are once again forced to keep a close eye on costs and benefits.”