Auto Industry Featured Story

Detroit auto show moving to June in 2020

The North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) announced today that starting in 2020,  the show would make a transformational move to June and will start the week of June 8th.

A news release issued just after midnight said that the ability for participating brands to deliver dynamic exhibits and experiential opportunities outside of the show’s four walls for attending journalists, industry members and consumers, will provide new avenues to showcase the products and technologies on display.

Delivering greater ROI through reduced costs and dynamic opportunities will be a key aspect of the future show.

“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.”

The North American International Auto Show, known as the Detroit auto show, has been experiencing difficulty in recent years because of competition from the CES show in Las Vegas where many of the automakers have been unveiling their latest technology.

Several automakers have stopped participating at Detroit and others have served notice of withdrawal. It is not surprising that the Detroit show has opted to make this move.

The release continued by saying that the NAIAS is one of the most influential global auto events, touching all facets of the industry and attracting the largest concentration of the world’s top industry leaders – from automakers and suppliers, to tech startups and venture capitalists, to universities and policymakers.

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

The show is run by the Detroit Auto Dealers Association and its Executive Board. As part of the DADA and Board’s due diligence in exploring new opportunities for the show, hundreds of meetings and conversations with key stakeholders – automakers, suppliers and sponsors, as well as industry and government leaders – were held around the world.

“Our ultimate goal is to provide an experience and opportunity for participating companies and attendees, that only Detroit can offer,” said Doug North, DADA President. “June will allow us to better showcase the automotive leadership, development and heritage our great city and region holds.”

Embracing Change

The news release said that uto show dynamics are changing globally as the auto industry undergoes its biggest shift in more than a century. With this, automakers are seeking out increasingly creative ways to debut vehicles and engage with consumers.

Plans have been under way for over a year as NAIAS stands ready to embrace this evolution with its move to June and provide a fresh international platform for hundreds of brands to highlight their innovations.

“As we look to break out of the traditional auto show model, there is not a need to follow the normal show season,” added North. “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 reimagined show will undergo an evolution that will take the show from inside Cobo Center to a canvas of unlimited brand activation and engagement opportunities – a canvas only limited by exhibitor creativity and imagination. While the successful foundation of the show inside Cobo Center will continue with vehicles and innovative mobility technologies being showcased, transformation plans call for growth in both branding and event opportunities at multiple venues throughout Detroit, and perhaps, beyond.

“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 & Visitors Bureau.

Hosting the show in June sets the stage for exhibitors to conduct dynamic outdoor experiential brand activations, immersing and engaging the media and consumers in memorable product experiences. A sampling of outdoor experiential activities might include:

  • Dynamic Vehicle Debuts
  • Ride and Drives
  • Autonomous/Automated Driving
  • Off-Road Challenges

It’s envisioned that activation sites will be located throughout downtown Detroit, including at some of the city’s jewels such as Hart Plaza, Detroit RiverWalk, Campus Martius, Woodward Avenue and Grand Circus Park. Activation spots might even extend beyond the downtown area to historic automotive locations or state parks such as Belle Isle.

“The potential to create a month-long automotive festival in Detroit starting with the Detroit Grand Prix, going through our show and concluding with the nationally-celebrated fireworks on the river, will provide an unmatched festival-like experience for all attendees,” added Alberts.

With ideal summer weather, a Cobo Center filled with new products and technologies, and engaging events positioned throughout the city, auto show attendees will be able to enjoy all that Detroit has to offer, while celebrating the Motor City’s love of the automobile.

Cross-marketing events around the city will help drive excitement, energy and attendees to the downtown.

Meantime, the 2019 show will be held, as usual, in January with the press preview days scheduled for Jan. 14-15 and the public show planned for Jan. 19-27.