Volvo to Skip Major Auto Shows in 2015

Dec 15, 2014 03:00 PM EST | Matt Mercuro

Volvo is planning on skipping a number of the biggest auto shows in 2015 in order to sharpen its online focus.

Starting next year, the automaker will take part in only one auto show per region, including the Detroit and Geneva auto shows, according to a report by Reuters.

Volvo Cars said Monday it will also start selling vehicles online as it introduces more vehicles in order to compete with rivals like Audi and Mercedes-Benz.

The move means the company will skip a number of major auto shows in the United States, including Chicago, Los Angeles and New York.

Volvo sales have dropped 9 percent this year through November in the U.S.

"We have been doing what is expected in the car industry so far, and we're going to do things that are unexpected," Volvo sales chief Alain Visser said in a statement, according to Reuters.

He added that the automaker needs to "stand out and challenge things," just as its vehicles will.

Volvo's announcement also means the company will be absent at other key auto shows around the globe, including Paris and Frankfurt. In comparison, its German counterparts BMW, Audi and Mercedes are looking forward to showing off what they got at every auto show possible.

Audi has plans to attend all the major international auto shows, like Paris, Shanghai and Geneva. During its last two industry events in Frankfurt, the automaker built a temporary free-standing exhibition halls to display its latest vehicles.

"When we go there, we try to be the best," said Luca de Meo, Audi's sales chief, according to Reuters. "We see them as very important platforms," he said, especially in growth markets like China, where car shows are proliferating.

Volvo said in outlined changes to its global marketing strategy that it hopes to gradually introduce web sales and spend more money on digital advertising next year.

"The plan is to have all our car lines in all our markets offered digitally," Visser said. "We know from research that more and more of our customers are ready to buy online," Visser said. "The reason why they are willing to buy is not to get a cheaper price, but to avoid the hassle around negotiating the deal."

Visser expects the automaker to sell around 465,000 vehicles in total by the end of the year. BMW is on track to deliver more than 2 million vehicles, in comparison. 

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