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

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

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.

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

More by Steph Willems

Join the conversation
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.

  • Wolfwagen What I never see when they talk about electric trucks is how much do these things weigh and how much does that detract from the cargo-carrying capacity?
  • Wolfwagen I dont know how good the Triton is but if they could get it over here around the $25K - $30K They would probably sell like hotcakes. Make a stripped down version for fleet sales would also help
  • 3SpeedAutomatic You mentioned that Mitsubishi cars had lost their character. Many brands are losing that that element as well. GM is giving up on the ICE Camaro and Dodge on the ICE Challenger. There goes the Bad Boy image. Might as well get your teeth pulled and dentures put in place. Would like to see a few EVOs with cherry bomb exhaust and true 4 cylinder BIG blower turbos; 4 wheel drift capacity is mandatory!!🚗🚗🚗
  • Tassos Here in my overseas summer palace, I filled up my tank twice in May, at 68 and 52 euros (a full 90+ liter tank fillup has taken 130-135 Euros in the past, and I am 23 miles from downtown here, while only 1-2 miles in the US)Still, diesel here is MUCH cheaper than gas. Yesterday, I paid 1,488 a liter while gas was at least 1,899 (regular).Multiply by almost 4 for gallons AND by an additional 1.1 for $.
  • 3SpeedAutomatic IIRC, both China and the EU use a standardized charger connection. About time the US & Canada to follow.Would take some of the anxiety out of an EU purchase and accelerate adoption. 🚗🚗🚗