Detroit Auto Show Organizers Make It Official: January's History
There’s only one more North American International Auto Show to go before America’s premier automotive event trades its bitter winter winds for temperate climes.
After months of rumor and speculation, the Detroit Auto Dealers Association — the organization behind the show — declared Thursday that it will no longer hold the event in January. After the 2019 show, journalists will no longer be able to watch icebergs form on the Detroit River.
Historically, the Detroit show kicked off in winter to boost a slow sales period, with would-be buyers encouraged to think warm thoughts about new cars. The show’s date remained frozen in January for at least half a century.
As competing shows, off-site reveals, and the proliferation of digital media tossed wet blankets on NAIAS from every direction, diminishing the show’s prestige. After the 2018 event, numerous major automakers pulled out, though perhaps on a temporary basis. Organizers reached the conclusion that the event date needed changing. A warmer month and a general rethink of the show was in order.
Yesterday, NAIAS spokesman Max Muncey told The Detroit News that DADA is prepared to make the change official. Organizers will announce the new event date on July 24th. Until then, DADA will only say that the change occurs in 2020, leaving us to speculate whether the new date lies in October or June — two months seen as the most likely candidates.
Some wish to see the event sprawl outside the confines of the riverside Cobo Center and into other Detroit venues. While it’s unknown if NAIAS events will proliferate across the city, it does look like organizers want more outdoor attractions. A teaser video released Thursday focuses on the outdoor space outside the Cobo Center.
It’s also possible the show’s name might not survive the changes, either. According to The Detroit News, a dozen potential new names are in the running.
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