The last several years have seen a massive increase in automotive presence at CES. It’s not a car show exactly, but as more car makers adopt a technology-first approach, it sure feels like it’s getting there. Tonight, however, General Motors became the latest in a long string of top names bailing out of an in-person presence at the massive Consumer Electronics Show.
“We have decided to move to an all-digital approach with our activation at CES 2022 in January,” company said in a statement. “We are continuing with our plans on Jan. 5 to share our significant company news, including the reveal of the Chevrolet Silverado EV.”
It’s a big change for a company with a big planned presence, including a headlining keynote address from CEO Mary Barra, as well as the in-person debut of the electric Chevy Silverado. Barra plans to give her talk remotely now, according to the company. GM isn’t the first car marker to reverse its plans, but it is the largest. It follows similar announcements from Waymo and Intel, which has a sizable presence in the form of Mobileye.
Other big, recently dropped dominoes include Google, Lenovo, T-Mobile, AT&T, Meta, Twitter, Amazon, TikTok, Pinterest, and Casio as well as a number of prominent media outlets. Other companies, including Nvidia, had planned a virtual-first presence from the outset. After narrowly dodging the first COVID-19 wave in early 2020, CES was expected to be a major return for in-person tech events — albeit one that would be more muted than in past years.
The persistence of the virus’s omicron variant has, however, changed plans for a number of companies, large and small. When we last spoke to the CTA earlier today, however, the show’s governing body still planned to go forward with the event, employing increased safety measures, including vaccine mandates.