News & Views

Detroit Auto Show moves to Summer in 2020

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The transition of the NAIAS show from January to June in 2020 has begun.

Doug North takes the wheel for 2020 show

2019 marks the final year the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) will be held in winter. Come 2020, visitors from far and wide will instead enjoy this annual spectacle during Michigan’s more temperate summer weather as the show moves to June.

During this last winter season, NAIAS offered a multitude of events and activities to entertain guests besides climbing in and out of the 750 shiny new vehicles. From life-size LEGO displays to interactive games, there was plenty to see and do. Over the weekend, alumni members of the U.S. Figure Skating Championships stopped by for a meet and greet, as well as the Detroit Tigers with their mascot PAWS, and adoptable dogs from the Michigan Humane Society.

While browsing the latest and greatest vehicles on display by the world’s most prominent companies, families were also invited to partake in various games and activities scattered throughout the showroom. This year, thrill seekers enjoyed the chance to climb through a net bridge suspended above the exhibit, or ride the sturdy new Kia Telluride over rocky terrain. This year there were several opportunities to experiment with virtual reality as even more brands than previous years incorporated it into their displays. Besides using the technology to demonstrate the features of the vehicles, there was an all-star baseball game courtesy of Chevrolet, and those who wanted to take a cruise in a Ford truck on their track wore a VR headset during the ride.

Anyone who has been to previous year’s shows knows it’s a must-see. However, attendees can also agree that the environment outside of Cobo is often less than desirable. Luckily, this transition to June will lead to a new frontier of opportunities for the North American International Auto Show including more dynamic car displays and the ability to take advantage of the Motor City’s culture by expanding to various locations in Detroit. Some of the area’s most iconic locations are already being hinted at as possible activation sites such as the River Walk, Campus Martius, and even Belle Isle.

This move to the summer is also a great way to highlight the other automotive-themed events that occur in the season such as the Belle Isle Grand Prix. Officials say that June will also provide more opportunities to positively affect the economy, as it will draw more people to the city, who in turn spend money at local businesses and attractions. This past January saw over three-quarters of a million people generating an economic impact of $480 million.

With all these impressive changes, some things will remain the same. One is the way the auto show brings Michiganders together. The other is how beneficial NAIAS is in showcasing the incredible strength and endurance the Motor City has in spite of its tumultuous history.

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