By on May 4, 2018

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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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13 Comments on “Detroit Auto Show Organizers Leaning Towards an October Date, but GM Wants June...”

  • avatar

    A huge, outdoor auto-centric festival in Detroit when the weather is nice (does that ever happen?) could actually be really cool. Like a Coachella for cars. I’d consider flying out from Los Angeles for something like that (…or they could just do it here…).

    Obviously they’d have to execute it correctly, and ideally all OEMs would have a presence, not just GM / Detroit 3. The brand collaborations with entertainers / celebrities/ and other brands are endless. Do it!

    • 0 avatar

      Aw, just let the furriners stay home. Make it a June bash for Detroit Iron. That should be the new name – “The Detroit Iron Auto Show”. The Big 3 should withdraw from all those other foreign shows, and reveal all their next year’s models in June, along with their latest styling concept vehicles.

      Parties! Balloons! Rides! A Circus atmosphere with reveals like religious revival tent spectacles! The original show was for local dealers, so have them turn out with their order books, ready to sign up the first-adopters for the new models.

      Just skip the next January event and plan for June.

    • 0 avatar
      Peter Gazis

      Coachella-Cars are meant for driving, not sleeping in. Plus L.A. gave up all rights to an auto show when it turned its highway fast lanes into Prius parking lots.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Whatever. I spend 2 hours at the Pittsburgh Auto Show, not including the 1-hour round trip from home (in frigid February).

    By then, I’ve already read about the prior auto shows. Even if Pittsburgh was the very first city on the circuit, you couldn’t get me to spend a whole day or two doing a city-wide car festival. We have the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix for that.

    The only reason I go is to see if I fit inside the vehicles, and dream a little, without being hassled by sales people.

  • avatar

    Late November is the Los Angeles Auto Show. Which is the more exciting city to visit? Has a bigger auto market locally?? Has better weather?? Hmmm.

  • avatar
    blank reg barclay

    Surely it’s just a coincidence that the Chevrolet-sponsored “Dual in Detroit” Indycar races on Belle Isle take place the first weekend of June…

  • avatar

    Tie in with the Detroit Grand Prix at Belle Isle.

  • avatar

    The Autoextremist guy has been advocating June for years, and explains why in some detail. Apparently someone at GM reads his stuff.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    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.

  • avatar

    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.

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