This isn't just a COVID-19 move, either.

For decades, the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) was held in January. After the 2019 event, show organizers recast it as a summer show with plans to hold it in June of this year. Coronavirus delayed the show to 2021, but now the event will never see summertime in Michigan. It's been delayed again to September 2021, and it will hold that timeslot going forward.

"We have talked with many of our partners, particularly the OEMs, and they are fully on board and excited about the date change," said NAIAS Executive Director Rod Alberts.

The new dates for the show are September 28 through October 9. With the shift to summer, the show was recast as both an indoor and outdoor venue. That format will be retained for the late-September timeframe, though sweaters might be needed to peruse exhibits along the riverfront and Hart Plaza outside the TCF Center, formerly known as Cobo Hall.

"Our responsibility as an auto show is to host a global stage for current products as well as mobility innovations of tomorrow,” said Alberts in a statement about the move. "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."

Without snow to worry about, the rebooted NAIAS is said to include more dynamic displays, ride-and-drive events, and other activities throughout the city. The NAIAS experience will technically consist of seven shows, beginning on September 24 with Motor Bella that focuses on British and Italian brands. Media days open on September 28, and the public show starts October 2.

This is the latest move in a global auto show calendar that is on unstable ground, to say the very least. Automakers were already pulling away from major shows in favor of individual events for new product reveals before the COVID-19 pandemic. Beginning with the cancellation of the 2020 Geneva Motor Show in March, every major auto show venue around the world has postponed operations until at least 2021.

Detroit's decision to switch to September also comes amid the shifting tides of Germany's IAA 2021, which long held the mid-late September timeslot in Frankfurt. It was announced earlier this year that the show was moving to Munich, with a new timeslot of early September. As such, Detroit's move to the end of the month leaves just a couple of weeks between two significant automotive events taking place on opposite sides of the globe. It will be interesting to see how this plays out with automakers going forward.

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NAIAS Moves Reimagined Show to September 2021 and Beyond

 

The North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) today announced it will move its reimagined indoor and outdoor show, originally planned for summer 2021, to Sept. 28 – Oct. 9, 2021. NAIAS officials say the show is teed up to be a global powerhouse of current product and next-generation mobility combined with immersive brand activations and product engagement for both the international media and the public.

“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.

NAIAS will remain a fall show going forward after the inaugural event in September 2021. Show dates have already been secured with TCF Center for the next three years. NAIAS organizers secured dates towards the end of the month, in part, to be mindful of the new IAA in Munich, which is scheduled for the first full week in September.

“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.”

“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,” Alberts said.

NAIAS officials also plan to expand the show’s marketing reach, drawing additional show visitors from beyond the region and state. The campaign will emphasize that consumers can preview all of the latest new cars and trucks headed to dealership showrooms while also enjoying Detroit and Michigan in the fall.

“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.
North said the September 2021 show will include the same memorable product experiences that were originally planned for the June show, including dynamic displays and experiential ride-and-drives. The NAIAS campus will include product and technology activations both inside TCF Center and throughout the city.

NAIAS will continue to host seven unique shows in one: Motor Bella, The Gallery, Press Preview, AutoMobili-D, Industry Preview, Charity Preview and Public Show.

Additionally, NAIAS is launching a new virtual thought leadership series, Q’d Up Mobility, that kicks off tomorrow. The monthly series will provide a glimpse into what the 2021 show has queued up for guests—an idea that was born out of tremendous interest and support after the cancelation of the 2020 show.

About the North American International Auto Show
Now in its 32nd year as an international event, the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) is one of the most influential annual automotive events in the world. NAIAS is where future mobility innovations start. With the largest concentration of the world’s top automotive and technology executives, designers, engineers and thought leaders, NAIAS serves as the global stage for companies to debut brand-defining vehicles, offer product ride-and-drives and announce industry-shaping plans.  Starting in 2021, the reimagined show will be held in September, allowing exhibitors to take advantage of indoor and outdoor venues. NAIAS is the only event of its kind to present seven unique shows in one, including: Motor Bella, celebrating British and Italian luxury car brands; The Gallery, an ultra-luxury automotive event; AutoMobili-D, an inside look at future mobility platforms; Press Preview, an opportunity for automakers to debut new products and technology; Industry Preview, a one-of-a-kind networking opportunity; Charity Preview, the largest single-night fundraiser across the globe; and then concluding with an eight-day Public Show.  For more information, visit naias.com.

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The 2021 show dates are:

Motor Bella: Sept. 24-26
The Gallery: Sept. 26
Press Preview: Sept. 28-29
AutoMobili-D: Sept. 28-30  
Industry Preview: Sept. 29-30
Charity Preview: Oct. 1
Public Show: Oct. 2-9