The North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) had a pretty good year in 2018 considering a total of 69 cars were introduced during the press days when 5,078 certified journalists had the opportunity to cover all the major debuts. Compared to the year before, the total number of visitors saw a minor increase, reaching 809,161 during the show’s pubic days.
The event’s organizer, the Detroit Auto Dealers Association, wants to make the show even better not just for visitors, but also for the automakers. It has been decided that from 2020 onwards, NAIAS will switch from the cold month of January to a much warmer June, with the show to begin during the week of June 8. Doing so will mean the event won’t be clashing anymore with CES, which is beginning to focus more and more on car-related tech.
This switch will pay dividends in terms of costs and the time needed by a company to organize everything. Companies will be able to save money by not having to pay overtime during the busy holiday season (Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day), which will contribute to savings of 30-40 percent. Not only that, but the setup time will be reduced from around eight weeks to just three.
The people behind NAIAS are perfectly aware automakers are beginning to move away from traditional auto shows in order to set up their own events for car reveals, which is why they plan to respond by reconfiguring the show to make it more appealing. Renders and a video released on NAIAS’ official website provide a preview of the changes bound to happen.
Moving the show to June will open up a great deal of possibilities for outdoors activities, which will include dynamic vehicle debuts akin to the Goodwood Festival of Speed. There will also be off-road challenges, autonomous/automated driving experiences, as well as rides and drives in a variety of vehicles.
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These activities will be set up outside of the Cobo Center, with the organizers wanting to prepare sites in downtown Detroit as well as at other locations important for the car industry.
Meanwhile, the 2019 edition will be held as usual in January and won’t include important brands such as Mercedes, BMW, and Audi. On the flip side, Hyundai has announced plans for an “exciting reveal.”
Gallery: 2020 Detroit Auto Show
Transformational Move Announced for the North American International Auto Show
The North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) announced that starting in 2020 the show would make a transformational move to June and will start the week of June 8th. The ability for participating brands to deliver dynamic exhibits and experiential opportunities outside of the show’s four walls for attending journalists, industry members and consumers, will provide new avenues to showcase the products and technologies on display. Delivering greater ROI through reduced costs and dynamic opportunities will be a key aspect of the future show.
“Our show is undergoing its most significant transformation in the last three decades,” said Rod Alberts, Executive Director, NAIAS. “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 is one of the most influential global auto events, touching all facets of the industry and attracting the largest concentration of the world’s top industry leaders – from automakers and suppliers, to tech startups and venture capitalists, to universities and policymakers.
“The North American International Auto Show is an amazing exhibition that showcases the most innovative and creative automotive companies around the world,” said Michigan Governor Rick Snyder. “Moving the show to the summer opens up new opportunities for companies as well as creating new experiences for attendees.”
The show is run by the Detroit Auto Dealers Association and its Executive Board. As part of the DADA and Board’s due diligence in exploring new opportunities for the show, hundreds of meetings and
conversations with key stakeholders – automakers, suppliers and sponsors, as well as industry and government leaders – were had around the world.
“Our ultimate goal is to provide an experience and opportunity for participating companies and attendees, that only Detroit can offer,” said Doug North, DADA President. “June will allow us to better
showcase the automotive leadership, development and heritage our great city and region holds.”
Embracing the Industry’s Change
Auto show dynamics are changing globally as the auto industry undergoes its biggest shift in more than a century. With this, automakers are seeking out increasingly creative ways to debut vehicles and engage with consumers. Plans have been underway for over a year as NAIAS stands ready to embrace this evolution with its move to June and provide a fresh international platform for hundreds of brands to highlight their innovations.
“As we look to break out of the traditional auto show model, there is not a need to follow the normal show season,” added North. “The new direction and focus of the show will disrupt the normal cadence
of traditional shows and create a new event unparalleled in the industry.”
Endless Opportunities for Brand Activations
The reimagined show will undergo an evolution that will take the show from inside Cobo Center to a canvas of unlimited brand activation and engagement opportunities – a canvas only limited by exhibitor creativity and imagination. While the successful foundation of the show inside Cobo Center will continue with vehicles and innovative mobility technologies being showcased, transformation plans call for growth in both branding and event opportunities at multiple venues throughout Detroit, and perhaps, beyond.
“Detroit now has the opportunity to showcase our riverfront and our revitalized downtown during our beautiful summer months and creatively use the exterior of Cobo to launch new products that will transform Detroit into an exciting auto-centric environment,” said Larry Alexander, president and CEO of the Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Hosting the show in June sets the stage for exhibitors to conduct dynamic outdoor experiential brand activations, immersing and engaging the media and consumers in memorable product experiences. A sampling of outdoor experiential activities might include:
- Dynamic Vehicle Debuts
- Ride and Drives
- Autonomous/Automated Driving
- Off-Road Challenges
It’s envisioned that activation sites will be located throughout downtown Detroit, including at some of the city’s jewels such as Hart Plaza, Detroit RiverWalk, Campus Martius, Woodward Avenue and Grand Circus Park. Activation spots might even extend beyond the downtown area to historic automotive locations or state parks such as Belle Isle.
“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,” added Alberts.
Cost Benefits for Exhibitors
The move to June will translate into substantial cost savings for exhibitors. By eliminating November, December and January holidays from the move-in equation, exhibitors will see reduced overtime labor costs for builds. Additionally, the show will have a shorter move-in schedule of three weeks, significantly reduced from the current 8 weeks on average it takes for move-in. With a reduced build time, exhibit builds will be simplified and less custom-built for Detroit, providing numerous cost savings as well.
A Vibrant Downtown
With ideal summer weather, a Cobo Center filled with new products and technologies, and engaging events positioned throughout the city, auto show attendees will be able to enjoy all that Detroit has to offer, will celebrating the Motor City’s love of the automobile.
Cross-marketing events around the city will help drive excitement, energy and attendees to downtown.
This past January, NAIAS attracted well over three-quarters of a million people to the city and generated an economic impact of $480M (according to David Sowerby, CFA, Managing Director, Portfolio Manager, Ancora) to the regional economy.
“June provides us with exciting new opportunities that January just didn’t afford,” added Alberts. “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.”
Comments from Automakers
- “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,” said 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,” said Yu Jun, GAC Motor President. “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.”
- “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,” said 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,” said Jim Trainor, Director, Hyundai Motor America.
- “Toyota is excited to see the North American International Auto Show move to June in 2020,” said Scott Vazin, Group Vice President and Chief Communications Officer, Toyota Motor North America. “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.”
Preparations Underway for Coming Year
The January 2019 NAIAS looks to build off the significant buzz generated this past show where media metrics reports from PRIME Research indicate NAIAS remains the global leader among domestic
shows in terms of influence as it garners the largest reach, number of articles and share of voice.
“Coming off recent trips in Europe, Asia, and around the U.S., automakers, suppliers and tech companies have hinted at some important product news that is earmarked for Detroit this upcoming
year,” said Bill Golling, 2019 NAIAS Chairman. “We look forward to providing a world-class platform for the over 200 brands that showcase their innovations at our show.”