Detroit Auto Show Organizers Leaning Towards an October Date, but GM Wants June

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
detroit auto show organizers leaning towards an october date but gm wants june

Hoping to restore some of the event’s lost relevance, the organizers behind the North American International Auto Show will soon decide whether to move the Detroit carfest to a more palatable month.

The Detroit Auto Dealers Association began looking at ways to boost interest earlier this year, following Mercedes-Benz’s announcement that it would not attend the 2019 show. Not long after that, BMW said it also planned to take a pass. Bleeding automakers and facing a growing threat from digital media, the event’s increasingly grim situation called for desperate measures.

It’s now looking like next year’s show will indeed be the last one staged in January. However, General Motors has its own idea for how to spruce up the show — one that involves the entire city.

In an email to The Detroit News, DADA implied a move to October would lead to reduced labor and set-up costs. Also, the Cobo Center’s HVAC system wouldn’t get the same strenuous workout than if the show was held mid-summer.

“Our board and team are still doing our due diligence of exploring potential date opportunities for NAIAS,” spokesman Max Muncey said. “As you can imagine, this involves countless meetings with our key stakeholders around the world. Our ultimate goal is to provide a global stage for participating brands that delivers opportunities and experiences that only Detroit can offer.”

Tony Cervone, senior vice president of global communications for General Motors, would prefer to see an event that’s focused more on the buyer, as well as the city. Cervone’s idea, a “massive festival of automotive,” would take place in Detroit at the start of summer, with entertainment events and attractions spread out over a larger geographical area. Give people a reason to visit, then make them aware of new vehicles.

“In the end, we’re all going to band together to put Detroit and the auto industry into the best light possible,” he said.

Two ideas — one safe, the other ambitious. Place your bets.

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2 of 13 comments
  • Jeff S Jeff S on May 05, 2018

    I could see late September or early October as a good time for an auto show since the new model year cars are being introduced and the weather is not too cold or too hot. That would be an ideal time because buyers are interested to see the new models just after they have been released.

  • ToddAtlasF1 ToddAtlasF1 on May 06, 2018

    I heard the reason fewer automakers are attending the Detroit auto show has almost everything to do with organized crime controlling the event. There's over a hundred dollar a seat tribute to be paid for hosting a press conference.

  • Cprescott I remember when Fords were affordable.
  • Cprescott As a once very LOYAL FORD buyer, I had to replace my 22 year old Ford (bought new in 1997) once it finally started to have problems at 180k miles. I would have gladly purchased something like this from Ford but they abandoned me as a car buyer. Oddly, Hyundai still builds cars in a variety of flavors so I became a customer of theirs and am very happy. Likely will consider another once this one gets up in mileage.
  • SCE to AUX A friend once struck a mounted tire that was laying flat in the middle of her lane on the PA Turnpike. She was in a low late-90s Grand Prix, and the impact destroyed the facia, core support, radiators, oil pan, transmission, subframe, and suspension. They fixed it all.
  • Dukeisduke Lol, it's not exactly a Chevrolet SS with Holden badging.
  • Dukeisduke Years ago, I was driving southbound along North Central Expressway (south of Mockingbird Lane, for locals), and watched a tire and wheel fall out of the bed of a pickup (no tailgate), bounce along, then centerpunch the front end of a Honda Accord. It wasn't pretty.