Nissan Asks Dealers Not To Display Vehicles at Detroit Show

By Chris Haak


In November, Nissan announced that it was pulling out of the 2009 NAIAS in Detroit.  Unlike Chrysler, which had to ask its Detroit-area dealers to chip in to help pay for its participation in this year’s show, area Nissan dealers took the initiative on their own and were planning on holding the Nissan floor space and displaying vehicles from their inventory.  After all, the 700,000 visitors who attend the public portion of the auto show make up a set of pretty decent sales prospects, and the dealers were probably afraid of the old “out of sight, out of mind” thing if Nissan had no presence at all in Detroit.

Now Nissan USA has asked dealers to “please respect their decision to not have a presence at the North American International Auto Show” this year.  This means that the floor space – which is in a fairly prime location, on the main show floor – will go to a former basement-dwelling company such as a Chinese firm that doesn’t even have legal authority to sell cars in the US.

I’m personally disappointed to not have the chance to see a new 370Z or Cube in person, and I’m sure the Detroit-area Nissan dealers are even more disappointed at the prospect of having their prospects walking right past where they wanted to have their vehicles displayed, only to continue on to Toyota or any number of other competitors.

Frankly, I don’t understand the logic behind this move, if the local dealers were willing to foot the bill for the entire display, including providing cars.  The only reason I can think of would be that the dealer-provided display would probably not have the sophistication of the factory-sponsored display stand, with expensive fixtures, three-dimensional booths, podiums, and more that the dealer body may not have access to.

Meanwhile, Chrysler announced yesterday that it is eliminating its famous Jeep waterfall and all of the other pageantry that it’s rolled out in Detroit.  Last year, Chrysler had cowboys herd cattle through the streets of Detroit to launch the new 2009 Ram pickup.  In previous years, new cars have crashed through plate glass windows, dropped from the sky, and participated in any number of creative tactics.  And even worse, Chrysler is no longer footing the open bar at the Firehouse following the show for journalists.  After all, just imagine the outrage in Congress that a six figure bar tab (which I’m totally guessing at) would cause, in light of the firestorm over a $50,000 corporate jet flight that we saw in November.

The good news is, the show still will go on, and there will be a decent number of new model and new concept debuts in Detroit.  Of course, many we’ve seen already, but we’ll be on the ground reporting our firsthand impressions from the Motor City next week.

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Author: Chris Haak

Chris is Autosavant's Managing Editor. He has a lifelong love of everything automotive, having grown up as the son of a car dealer. A married father of two sons, Chris is also in the process of indoctrinating them into the world of cars and trucks.

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  1. “Frankly, I don’t understand the logic behind this move, if the local dealers were willing to foot the bill for the entire display, including providing cars. ”

    That’s because there is none. Someone at Nissan needs to lose their job over this lame brained idea. Really, how can they give that guy a paycheck for advise like this?

  2. What really outrages me is that Nissan originally said they’d skip both Chicago and Detroit, but now they say they will have a presence at Chicago. Ridiculous. It’s as if they are deliberately dissing Detroit, and they have a significant tech center in the area, so WTF?

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