The Detroit Auto Show — otherwise known as the North American International Auto Show — is moving its annual event out of the cold confines of January and into the warm embrace of June starting in 2020. The move aims to reverse an exodus of automakers that have opted to showcase their upcoming products at tech-forward shows like CES held in Las Vegas.
Organizers expect the shift to June, which industry experts, analysts and weary automotive journalists have recommended for years, will save money for exhibitors. By eliminating November, December and January holidays from the move-in equation, exhibitors will see reduced overtime labor costs for builds, organizers said in a statement Sunday. The show will also have a shorter move-in schedule of three weeks, significantly reduced from the average eight weeks that it takes now. The show is run by the Detroit Auto Dealers Association and its executive board.
There’s another benefit to the move: outdoor demos. The annual show’s current January time slot holds attendees hostage in the massive Cobo Center. A June show date will allow automakers, and even mobility tech startups, to hold demonstrations and first drives on the streets of Detroit. Autonomous and automated driving demonstrations will surely pop up, as well.
Detroit is already in the midst of a revitalization. And an event in June will give organizers and officials a chance to show off the city, including Hart Plaza, Detroit RiverWalk, Campus Martius, Woodward Avenue and Grand Circus Park.
Expect the Big Three automakers to make a big splash on their home turf. Ford is already on its way. The automaker announced this summer plans to transform at least 1.2 million square feet of space in Corktown — Detroit’s oldest neighborhood — into a hub for its electric and autonomous vehicles businesses. The campus won’t be complete until 2022.