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The rising cost of developing electrified cars is partly responsible for diminished manufacturer attendance at motor shows, according to Stellantis boss Carlos Tavares.

He was speaking behind the scenes of a sparsely attended Paris motor show, at which the mainstream manufacturers represented with large-scale stands included his own company’s DSJeep and Peugeot brands, the Renault Group and incumbent Chinese firms BYD and Great Wall.

“The fact that you have Renault, Stellantis and the Chinese only is reflective of the fact that the car makers are now much more picky on the return on investment [ROI] which is represented by shows,” he said.

“The costs of shows have been reduced dramatically. At the Detroit motor show a few weeks ago, all the cars were at ground level – no more big, big constructions.

“So the costs have gone down. Previously they weren’t reasonable, and now the car makers are looking at the return on investment. And why? Because the costs of electrification is going through the roof, so you have to save a lot of money in a lot of different places to fund electrification.

“So yes, people start to be very demanding on return on investment, that’s normal.”

Paris is just the second full-scale motor show to take place in Europe following the pandemic, after Munich in 2021 which was similarly downscaled, compared with previous years.

Geneva, traditionally the continent’s biggest motoring event, hasn’t taken place since 2019.

Tavares explained Stellantis’s thinking on motor shows: “In our case, we have a floor, and if you’re below that floor in terms of ROI, you don’t go, depending on the cost of the motor show. And we only go if we have something to say.

“The presence at motor shows isn’t given. It depends on if it makes business sense and the conditions under which you can go. If you’re in a part of the world where people don’t like cars, you may have questions about the sustainability of the event.

“Nothing lasts forever, and the changes you see demonstrate that people aren’t quite making those decisions, and you can estimate that this will continue to be the norm for the next few years.”

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