Detroit Auto Show to Move to June Starting in 2020

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The North American International Auto Show today announced it will move from January to June in 2020, when it will start on June 8. The ability for participating brands to deliver exhibits and experiential opportunities outside of the Cobo Center will provide new avenues to showcase the products and technologies on display, the organizers say.

“Our show is undergoing its most significant transformation in the last three decades,” says Rod Alberts, executive director of 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.”

NAIAS touches all facets of the auto industry and attracts the largest concentration of the world’s top industry leaders, including those from automakers, suppliers, tech startups, venture capitalists, 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,” says 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 (DADA) and its executive board. The board is exploring new opportunities for the show.

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

As the auto industry undergoes its biggest shift in more than a century, auto show dynamics are changing around the world. Industry leaders are seeking creative ways to debut vehicles and engage with consumers.

“As we look to break out of the traditional auto-show model, there is not a need to follow the normal show season,” says 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 continue to be held at Cobo Center, but may stretch throughout Detroit and 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,” says Larry Alexander, president and CEO of the Detroit Metro Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Outdoor-based activities might include dynamic vehicle debuts, ride and drives, autonomous and automated driving, and off-road challenges.

Part of the vision is to have activation sites throughout downtown Detroit, including at destinations such as Hart Plaza, the Detroit RiverWalk, Campus Martius, Woodward Avenue, and Grand Circus Park. Sites may also extend beyond the downtown area to historic automotive locations or state parks such as Belle Isle. Sites throughout Detroit also offer cross-marketing opportunities.

“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,” says Alberts.

The move to June is also expected to save cost for exhibitors by eliminating the November, December, and January holidays from the move-in equation.

This January, NAIAS attracted more than 750,000 people and generated an economic impact of $480 million to the regional economy.

“June provides us with exciting new opportunities that January just didn’t afford,” says 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 January 2020 NAIAS is expected to build off the buzz generated this past show, where media metrics reports from PRIME Research indicate NAIAS remains the global leader among domestic shows in terms of influence, as it garners the largest reach, number of articles, and share of voice.

“Coming off recent trips in Europe, Asia, and around the U.S., automakers, suppliers, and tech companies have hinted at some important product news that is earmarked for Detroit this upcoming year,” says Bill Golling, 2019 NAIAS chairman. “We look forward to providing a world-class platform for the over 200 brands that showcase their innovations at our show.”

NAIAS is in its 31st year as an international event. It is the most influential annual automotive event in the world.

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