Organizers of the North American International Auto Show are not pushing Porsche Cars North America Inc. to reconsider its pullout from the 2008 event in Detroit.
“It was a marketing decision,” senior co-chairman Carl Galeana says of the auto maker’s move. “It is what it is.”
Nor are there any talks to lure a replacement for Porsche. In recent years, China-based auto makers have aggressively targeted the Detroit show.
“We certainly can use that floor space,” Galeana says, adding show organizers are going to “reallocate” Porsche’s allotment among existing exhibitors.
Porsche surprises the industry by announcing this week that it would not exhibit in Detroit next January. The decision is based on the auto maker’s market position in the Detroit area.
“It’s not that the market isn’t significant – it is,” a spokesman says, adding Porsche will remain a presence in Detroit by targeting its performance-oriented demographic.
Porsche will be featured prominently during the Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix on Labor Day weekend, he says. The brand also will be represented on the track because it is a major player in the American Le Mans racing series, which will stage an event at the Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix.
While Porsche sold 290 vehicles in Michigan last year, it delivered 30 times that many – nearly 9,000 vehicles – in California.
In recent months, Porsche has dropped 14 other auto shows from its schedule. It now displays at nine North American events: Chicago, New York, L.A., Miami, Toronto, Washington, San Francisco, Philadelphia and Dallas.
“It’s part of a trend to try to go a little more non-traditional,” the spokesman says.
Galeana says he understands Porsche’s decision and is confident the Detroit show’s reputation will not suffer.
The Motor City exhibition remains “the prominent, pre-eminent show in the country,” he says.
“Nowadays, niche marketing being what it is, everyone’s trying to do what they can to sell cars,” adds Galeana, a dealer who sells, Jeep, Dodge, Saturn and Kia vehicles. “At the end of the day (the auto show) is about selling your cars.
“Certainly, I hope they come back someday. We lost Kia before. But they came back and we were glad to have them.”
At this year’s New York Auto Show, Porsche staged an exclusive off-site display in addition to its official show stand. It used the off-site event to introduce a limited-edition Boxster and Boxster S.
Featuring Alcantara interiors and the trademark orange paint scheme normally reserved for the GT3 – Porsche will build just 250 units of each model. They are scheduled to go on sale about the time Porsche entries are expected to line up for the start of the Detroit Grand Prix.
Meanwhile, Galeana says Porsche’s pullout will benefit the remaining auto makers who have long complained the Detroit show’s venue, Cobo Hall, is too small.
“There are some people who are going to be very, very happy,” he says.