By on September 21, 2020

Whiter at NAIAS. Credit: NAIAS

The North American International Auto Show, aka the Detroit Auto Show, is moving. Again.

It never even had a chance to take place in summer, due to COVID. Now, it will be moving to September.

That’s right – assuming the pandemic is under control enough to allow for large gatherings by then, the NAIAS will take place just over one year from now, starting on September 28, 2021. The show will conclude on October 9.

The show was scheduled to move from January to June for the first time this year, but the pandemic put the kibosh on that like it did so many other events. The move was meant to placate complaining California-based journalists give the automakers more ability to host outdoor events in the pleasant summer weather. Now, the show is moving to the fall – and not just for 2021, but for the next three years.

Late September/early October weather in Detroit should be pleasant enough to allow for all those outdoor events planned for June to still take place.

The press release hints that the move may be a result of the Los Angeles auto show moving to May. Meanwhile, the New York show is still scheduled for April. Had the Detroit show not moved, and had everything proceeded as planned (still a big if, as of now), that would’ve meant three shows in three consecutive months – a logistical nightmare for automakers.

“We have talked with many of our partners, particularly the OEMs, and they are fully on board and excited about the date change,” NAIAS Executive Director Rod Alberts said in a statement. “Our responsibility as an auto show is to host a global stage for current products as well as mobility innovations of tomorrow,” Alberts said.

“September is an excellent time of year for new product, and at the same time, alleviates the challenges a now crowded spring auto show calendar presents for auto show stakeholders,” Alberts said. “Spreading out major auto shows is a win for everyone, particularly our partners. It gives auto companies an opportunity to give it their best at each and every show, which creates excitement for those who attend, too.”

“With seasonable autumn temperatures and technology and experiential activations positioned throughout the city, show visitors will be able to enjoy fall in a walkable, vibrant Motor City while embracing the future of the industry right before their eyes,” 2021 NAIAS Chairman Doug North said in a statement.

The show is being held late in September to avoid conflict with the IAA show in Munich, which takes place earlier in the month.

[Image: NAIAS]

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23 Comments on “See You Next Fall: NAIAS Moves Again...”


  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    Where’s your mask, lady?

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    “…show visitors will be able to enjoy fall in a walkable, vibrant Motor City while embracing the future of the industry right before their eyes”

    That was a copy-paste statement from 1955.

    Mfr participation in auto shows has been waning for years, because the ROI is questionable at best. Auto shows are really just circuses designed to generate popcorn revenue from the public, helping local vendors.

    With online reveals being a thing now, I would guess the mfrs won’t miss the hassle, cost, and logistics of the traveling show.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      But for local dealers taking orders, it’s a good time to sell the next year’s models that have just come out. The next year’s reveals all used to be in September anyway.

      Now they’re throughout the year, but mostly in Spring/Summer, so dealers should have enough stock on hand to make sales – that’s the original purpose of the auto shows.

      It’s about time the auto shows went back to their original purpose. The automakers can have their own special reveals at times during the year, and limit their participation in auto shows to concept vehicles, THEIR original reason for participating.

  • avatar
    Tim Healey

    As I wrote back in June, the traveling show will persist. Just perhaps not the media days. Auto shows still generate sales leads among the car-buying public.

  • avatar
    Old_WRX

    Covid the great killer. According to CDC’s latest statistics a grand total of ~9200 people have died from CV19 alone. The rest of the 190,000 or so deaths involved serious comorbidities and those deaths would not have been listed as Covid deaths under the usual CDC procedure for listing cause of death. CDC issued specific instructions for reporting Covid deaths earlier this year that are at variance with what has been their standard instructions for 10+ years.

    Don’t believe it? Check it out at cdc.gov; do the math.

    I Just hope no one is watching us from outer space — walking around wearing masks like this was the return of the black death…

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    Based solely on the weather (personal experience of 12 years), September is the ideal time to host this in Detroit. Fall in Southeastern Michigan is amazing.

  • avatar
    anomaly149

    Not a bad estimate for when things will be able to open up reasonably and mass scale vaccination will be largely complete at the current rate

    And honestly, the Detroit show moved because CES was the week before and because everyone wants to be a tech company, NAIAS had to move if it wanted anyone to show up.

  • avatar
    Oberkanone

    I’m a fan of the dates. Start of Fall. Not too cold, not too hot. Fine time to hype next years vehicles.

  • avatar
    redapple

    Years ago when we had traditional New Model introduction, Sept was when the new cars were introduced — on 1 day. (and most cars got new sheet metal every year)

    It was an exciting time for a car nut little kid – me.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      Yep – I recall all the showrooms had paper covering their windows until the Big Day when the new models were displayed. The showrooms were right up to the sidewalk, and people would look at the new models through the window.

      If they went inside, they’d get the hard sell – it was mostly invited past new-car buyers who went in for donuts, cookies, and brochures. Some of them, who had to have the newest model, would buy.

      My earliest memory of those was looking through the window at the first Ford Fairlane models, including a convertible. My father liked the sedan, but scoffed at buying/driving a convertible in New England weather.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Why am I strangely attracted to this woman?

  • avatar
    Jimf

    of course, they will hold the 2020 show in 2021…someday they will catch up…

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