In addition to attracting “hundreds of thousands of people” to downtown Detroit, the first indoor-outdoor North American International Auto Show, also known as the Detroit Auto Show, added an estimated $300 million to the regional economy.
David Sowerby, portfolio manager at Ancora in Bloomfield Hills, made his estimate based on the show’s move to September, its greater interactive exhibits, and the public’s increased interest in electric vehicles as a catalyst for the continued significant economic impact of the event.
“During a year when visitors have flocked back to southeast Michigan, the Detroit Auto Show accelerated that trend even faster,” says Claude Molinari, president and CEO of Visit Detroit. “Hotels, restaurants, and attractions throughout the region benefited from the show’s return, as visitors wanted to see the future of mobility first-hand and experience Detroit’s iconic culture.”
Rod Alberts, executive director of the reimagined show, says the auto show was designed as a celebration of Detroit and a means to support local and regional businesses. “We wanted to connect with the community and its people in ways we never have before.”
For the first time, the show-related activities took place in Hart Plaza and beyond, including the reveal of the new Ford Mustang, street course ride-and-drives in Volkswagens and Chevrolets, air mobility demonstrations, daily entertainment, Detroit-centric artists, and street food.
Inside, the auto show had a visit by President Joe Biden and U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg and activations that took attendees on rides on the man-made hills of Huntington Place.
“Auto shows around the world have changed dramatically since 2020, and we reimagined everything about the show to position it for the future,” says Joe Lunghamer, chairman of the Detroit Auto Show. “Show attendees want vehicle experiences, and manufacturers want a platform to provide these experiences.”
In addition to the new Mustang, the 2023 Chrysler 300C, Special Edition Chevrolet Equinox EV, Cadillac LYRIQ, the Dodge Charger Daytona SRT Concept, Dodge Hornet, the 2023 Toyota Crown, Subaru Ascent and Solterra, Lexus Electrified Sport Concept, and Lincoln Model L100 Concept made their debuts in Detroit.
Families were welcomed by the all-new Dinosaur and Off-Road Vehicle Encounters, with prehistoric creatures and SUVs, and the world’s largest rubber duck flanked by Jeep products and plenty of #duckduckjeep chatter.
New technology was a main theme of the Detroit show, particularly electric vehicle technology. One example was the Ford F-150 Lightning acceleration test.
Media from 31 countries and 36 states converged on Detroit to cover the show. More than 10,000 attendees participated in the event’s Industry Tech Days, immersing themselves in a wide range of new automotive technology and infrastructure, including innovations from more than 130 tech and startup companies.
The auto show’s Charity Preview also marked its return after a three-and-a-half-year hiatus. The gala raised more than $2 million for children’s charities in southeastern Michigan and featured musician Nile Rodgers and CHIC, and a first-time drone show over the Detroit skyline.
Next year’s Detroit Auto Show will take place Sept. 13-24.