Auto Show On The Move

Spirit Plaza in downtown Detroit could his an event opportunity during the 2020 edition of the North American International Auto Show.Image courtesy of NAIAS.

Spirit Plaza in downtown Detroit could his an event opportunity during the 2020 edition of the North American International Auto Show.
Image courtesy of NAIAS.

(DETROIT, MI) – Starting in 2020, the North American International Auto Show will move from its traditional January scheduling and will, instead, start the week of June 8. Additionally, citing the need for cost cutting, the show will also move out from under the roof of Cobo Hall for the first time in the show’s history.

“Our show is undergoing its most significant transformation in the last three decades,” said Rod Alberts, Executive Director, NAIAS. “Detroit will continue to be a global stage for some of the world’s most significant and iconic vehicle reveals and host an unparalleled international audience of media and key industry influencers.”

In the past, NAIAS was one of the most influential auto events and offered glimpses into all the nooks and crannies of the industry.

“The North American International Auto Show is an amazing exhibition that showcases the most innovative and creative automotive companies around the world,” said Michigan’s governor, Rick Snyder. “Moving the show to the summer opens up new opportunities for companies as well as creating new experiences for attendees.”

Automakers have been recently seeking more creative ways to unveil new models and to draw in buyers. Over the past few years, a number of auto makers opted out of attending the Detroit show and BMW and Mercedes-Benz won’t be at the 2019 edition.

Land Rover, Jaguar, Mazda, Porsche, Volvo, and Mitsubishi skipped the Detroit show last year, while Bentley, Aston Martin, and Ferrari weren’t on the display floor but, instead, had vehicles at a mini-event called The Gallery.

Alfa Romeo, Audi, Chrysler, and Dodge occupied their place on the 2018 show floor, but none of them hosted press conferences. And, Cadillac focused more on the New York Auto Show, the town where the carmaker is headquartered.

An artist's rendering of how Detroit's Hart Plaza may look when the North American International Auto Show sets up in June of 2020.Image courtesy of NAIAS.

An artist’s rendering of how Detroit’s Hart Plaza may look when the North American International Auto Show sets up in June of 2020.
Image courtesy of NAIAS.

Conversely, other automakers continue to eye Detroit with enthusiasm and anticipation.

“Hyundai is always excited to participate in the North American International Auto Show and display its products to the Motor City,” said Jim Trainor, Director, Hyundai Motor America. “We already are planning an exciting reveal in 2019. It certainly will be a new experience leaving the ski hats and Chap-Stick at home and packing our Tigers baseball caps and sunscreen. We look forward to the evolution of the show.”

The organizers of NAIAS, the Detroit Area Dealers Association, are taking steps to ensure that evolution continues to make the local auto show a must attend event.

“As we look to break out of the traditional auto show model, there is not a need to follow the normal show season,” said Doug North, DADA President. “The new direction and focus of the show will disrupt the normal cadence of traditional shows and create a new event unparalleled in the industry.”

The show’s foundation display space will continue inside Cobo Hall, but multiple downtown locations will also be utilized for off site events. NAIAS will also highlight Detroit landmarks such as Hart Plaza, Campus Martius, and Spirit Plaza. Belle Isle may also be involved.

“Detroit now has the opportunity to showcase our riverfront and our revitalized downtown during our beautiful summer months and creatively use the exterior of Cobo to launch new products that will transform Detroit into an exciting auto-centric environment,” said Larry Alexander, president and CEO of the Detroit Metro Convention and Visitors Bureau.

In 2018, NAIAS attracted an estimated 750,000 people to the Detroit area and provided a regional economic stimulus of $480 million.

“June provides us with exciting new opportunities that January just didn’t afford,” said Alberts. “We strongly believe we can continue to deliver a significant economic impact for our great city, and offer an event unlike anything anyone has ever experienced.”

The 2019 NAIAS will be held at Cobo Hall from January 12 through 27.

  • with files from John Skinner.
An artist's depiction of Detroit's Campus Martius transformed by the North American International Auto Show, to be held starting 8 June 2020.Image courtesy of NAIAS.

An artist’s depiction of Detroit’s Campus Martius transformed by the North American International Auto Show, to be held starting 8 June 2020.
Image courtesy of NAIAS.

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Ian Shalapata
Ian Shalapata is the owner and publisher of Square Media Group. He covers politics, the police beat, community events, the arts, sports, and everything in between. His imagery and freelance contributions have appeared in select publications and for organizations in Canada and the United States. Contact Ian with story ideas.