Detroit Auto Show moving to June in 2020; Will bring events throughout city

Posted at 12:01 AM, Jul 23, 2018

The North American International Auto Show is getting an upgrade and a new date beginning in 2020, the group announced overnight Monday. In what is the most significant transformation since its conception, the show will begin the week of June 8, 2020, after years of happening in mid-to-late January.

With the date change comes other upgrades and experiments that will encompass the weather in metro Detroit during the late spring as well as events throughout the city, with less build time and reduced costs.

“Detroit will continue to be a global stage for some of the world’s most significant and iconic vehicle reveals and host an unparalleled international audience of media and key industry influencers," NAIAS Executive Director Rod Alberts said in a release.

For 2019, several automakers have pulled out of the auto show, and with the shows current date in January, they are competing with the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. According to the show, plans have been underway for more than a year as "NAIAS stands ready to embrace this revolution with its move to June and provide a fresh international platform for hundreds of brands to highlight their innovations."

Run by the Detroit Auto Dealers Association and its executive board, its president, Doug North, said the June date will "allow us to better showcase automotive leadership, development and heritage our great city and region holds."

Plans also call for the traditional auto show model to change with the June date. The foundation will still stay inside Cobo Center, but there will be growth across multiple venues in Detroit. 

That means possible activities and showcases in places like Campus Martius Park, the Riverfront, Spirit of Detroit Plaza, Hart Plaza and more. Events at those places could include:

  • Dynamic Vehicle Debuts
  • Ride and Drives
  • Autonomous/Automated Driving
  • Off-Road Challenges

“The potential to create a month long automotive festival in Detroit starting with the Detroit Grand Prix, going through our show and concluding with the nationally-celebrated fireworks on the river, will provide an unmatched festival-like experience for all attendees,” Alberts added in the release.

The NAIAS said that moving the date to June will also save money for exhibitors, by eliminating several holidays from the move-in equation. The move-in schedule will also be about three weeks, compared to the average eight weeks it usually takes in.

There are also plans for cross-marketing events across the city that will help people enjoy all Detroit has to offer.

“June provides us with exciting new opportunities that January just didn’t afford,” Alberts said. “We strongly believe we can continue to deliver a significant economic impact for our great city, and offer an event unlike anything anyone has ever experienced.”

Leaders at several automakers also chimed in with their thoughts on the move.

"Reinventing NAIAS as a summertime festival of design, speed and innovation is incredibly exciting. It will showcase the best of our industry and the best of Detroit, and should become a can’t miss event on the calendar for global automakers and media." - Mark Truby, Vice President, Communications, Ford Motor Company.

“The North American International Auto Show has provided GAC Motor with a tremendous platform – connecting us with key media and industry executives. As we look to enter the U.S. and increase our market share, Detroit will continue to serve as a critical part of our global marketing strategy and we look forward to the new exciting opportunities June will offer.” - Yu Jun, GAC Motor President.

"We applaud the DADA for thinking big and really taking advantage of this opportunity to re-imagine the auto show and position Detroit in the best light. We’re excited to be a part of a festival-like series of events that showcase all the great things that are happening in both the auto industry and Detroit." - Tony Cervone, Senior Vice President, Global Communications, General Motors Company

“Hyundai is always excited to participate in the North American International Auto Show and display its products to the Motor City. We already are planning an exciting reveal in 2019. It certainly will be a new experience leaving the ski hats and Chap-Stick at home and packing our Tigers baseball caps and sunscreen. We look forward to the evolution of the show.” - Jim Trainor, Director, Hyundai Motor America.

“Toyota is excited to see the North American International Auto Show move to June in 2020. With a new summer timeframe, industry leaders and international media will see Detroit in a new light, paving the way for exciting outdoor activities and more opportunities to explore this vibrant city.” - Scott Vazin, Group VP and Chief Communications Officer for Toyota Motor North America

Preparations are still underway for the 2019 Detroit Auto Show still scheduled in January. It will run Jan. 12-27 at Cobo Center.