From Low-Brow to Luxury, Automakers Gear Up For Events

Events continue to figure prominently in automakers' efforts to reach new customers and instill loyalty in current owners.

Stellantis will return to the Motor City with the eighth year of MotorTrend Presents Roadkill Nights Powered by Dodge. The yearly celebration of muscle car culture features street-legal drag racing on Woodward Avenue in new location in downtown Pontiac.

New this year, the Aug. 12 event will end with a special concert performance.  Attendees can participate in Dodge Driving Experiences and watch drag racing. Dodge CEO Tim Kuniskis calls it the “cornerstone event” of the entire year. 

"This is more important for us than any other type of advertising we could do,” Kuniskis told The Detroit News last year during a preview of the event. … One of the most important things for Dodge is not the number of people that follow us, but the engagement of those people. And the only way to really build and foster that engagement is to be interesting and give them things that they're interested in following you for.”



On the other side of the country a week later, well-heeled consumers will gather for the 72nd Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. The main event on Aug. 20 and several other related events including The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering, attract hundreds of automotive enthusiasts. 

While vintage cars are the main draw, several automakers have found it the perfect venue to display current model year vehicles. 

“It’s really become an auto show for luxury vehicles,” Vinay Shahani, Lexus vice president of marketing, tells Marketing Daily. The Toyota Motor North America luxury brand will display several new models, including the recently introduced all-new Lexus GX and first-ever Lexus TX. Lexus is also the preferred vehicle of Pebble Beach Resorts. 

Other auto brands which have signed on to sponsor the event include Bentley, Lincoln, Mercedes-Benz, Aston Martin, Ford, BMW, Porsche, McClaren, Infiniti, Audi, Volkswagen, Acura, Cadillac, Lamborghini, Lucid, Lotus and Rolls Royce.

Traditional auto shows are still attracting automaker spending and consumer interest. The North American International Auto Show in Detroit is slated for Sept. 13-24, its second year in the fall time slot. 

Although it's no longer the massive show it once was, six auto reveals are planned from Stellantis, General Motors and Ford Motor Co. including a new Ford F-150 pickup truck. Every vehicle brand from the Detroit three will be represented at the show, according to organizers. 

Jeep and Ram are bringing back their popular test tracks. The show will also feature a new Powering Michigan EV Experience indoor track that will feature a wide range of electric vehicles. 

“This year’s show represents the next step in its evolution and in the evolution of the industry itself,” said Detroit Auto Show Chairman Thad Szott in a release. “Automotive technology is changing so rapidly; how do we make people comfortable with it?  We’re planning for a show that not only embraces and educates about this new technology, but offers an immersion into it.”

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