Hagerty Canceling Detroit Concours d'Elegance for 2024

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

The annual Detroit Concours d'Elegance is being canceled this year so Hagerty can reassess the event. While the company has stated that it remains committed to the Concours, the messaging was mixed enough to leave doubts about whether there will actually be another one.

“It’s been a privilege to unite car lovers in the heart of the Motor City at the Detroit Concours,” the organizers explained on the event website. “Thanks for riding with us. While we are still working to develop what the future of the Detroit Concours may look like, we’re sad to announce that we won’t be hosting the event this year.”

“Detroit is a special automotive city, full of very special car lovers. Our commitment to fueling the city’s car culture remains as strong as ever. For starters: We hope you’ll join us at RADwood on September 14, 2024 at Hart Plaza to celebrate ’80s and ‘90s vehicles and the iconic music and fashion that surrounded them.”

As with other automotive shows that share its name, the event caters primarily to high-end vintage automobiles in exceptional condition. But Detroit hasn’t been considered “The Paris of the Midwest” in generations. Truth be told, France’s capital has likewise seen better days — perhaps suggesting that now isn’t the time for there to be a surplus of car-themed events aimed at people who’ve spent more on classic cars than you’ll earn over your entire lifespan.

While still an automotive hub for the United States, the Concours d'Elegance always felt a little stuffy for the Motor City. While you do see some truly spectacular classics from just about everywhere, anyone who has ever visited the Woodward Dream Cruise knows that the locals trend more toward built American muscle cars and tuned imports manufactured from the 1960s onward.

Crain’s Detroit Business noted that the event had only spent two years in Detroit after the Traverse City-based specialty auto insurance company moved it there as part of planned revival. Additionally, it speculated that Hagerty was worried about finances after prioritizing growth. The company had laid off roughly 10 percent of its workforce in 2023 and announced $105 million in a capital raise over the summer. But things have been looking up since then and the brand has been narrowing its operations losses.

Still, it may not have been a risk the company wanted to take after the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) was moved back to its usual winter timeslot. Likewise scheduled for September, the 2022 Detroit Concours d'Elegance was clearly trying to ride the momentum of the trade show after it was pitched into being a fall event. But that is no longer the case, perhaps encouraging Hagerty to pass.

From Crain’s Detroit Business:

The Detroit Concours d'Elegance debuted in the Motor City in 2022 after more than 40 years in the suburbs — Meadow Brook Hall in Rochester Hills originally, before moving to the Inn at St. John's in Plymouth in 2011.
The show's core is a design competition between dozens of vintage vehicles throughout the Midwest. Once a staple for car enthusiasts, the show had been on life support for several years due to a lack of sponsor support under the ownership of the Concours d'Elegance of America.
Hagerty CEO McKeel Hagerty saw the event as an irresistible business opportunity in his home state and the mecca of automobiles. So the insurance company, which produces similar shows throughout the country, purchased the show from Concours d'Elegance of America in March 2021.
"We said, you know, the biggest missing piece here is to celebrate this incredible renaissance here in Detroit," the CEO told Crain’s in 2022. "It also needed a little more financial horsepower that we could bring, too.”

Without the additional draw of the North American International Auto Show, which seems to be struggling like most other industry trade shows, it sounds like Hagerty may have lost faith in Concours being financially viable. With that in mind, one wonders what the future of the event will even be. It’s not like a car show that’s focused on displaying one-of-a-kind automobiles outdoors can just pivot to the dead of winter and continue chasing NAIAS. 

"We’re proud of Hagerty’s stewardship of the Detroit Concours the last two years and look forward to bringing enthusiasts an event that aligns with the energy and identity of downtown Detroit that local enthusiasts are looking for," organizers told Crain’s Business. "We are grateful to the attendees, sponsors, partners, and participants for their support and contribution, their involvement has been invaluable.”

[Images: Hagerty]

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Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

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  • 2manyvettes 2manyvettes on Apr 05, 2024

    I also went to the Amelia island event for four years in a row. The best part of the event were the seminars. For intstance: a number of participants in the first Cannonball Baker Sea to Shining Sea Trophy Dash. Great stories. One year my youngest daughter who came along conned a Maserati rep at their stand to unlock a vehicle so she could sit in it. We finally stopped going when the ticket for the Sunday event got too expensive. This was before.Hagerty acquired the event. Fun while it lasted.

  • Golden2husky Golden2husky on Apr 06, 2024

    After attending the Auto show in NYC two days ago, I'd say the days of the real engaging auto show is over. They struggled to fill the Javits Centre, with the lower level filled with old cars and a track where you could drive an assortment of EVs indoors. So many of the major brands were MIA, as was all the excitement of days' past and the trove of vendors. The concours is different of course, but seems to be following the trend...

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