Detroit's auto show primed for one final wintry blast

The North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) announced that starting in 2020 the show would make a transformational move to June, with 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. Image courtesy of NAIAS / Windsor Star

In just over a month, the North American International Auto Show will pull back the curtain in Detroit and rev up the annual horsepower showcase for one final time in the cold winter month of January.

Starting with the following event in 2020, one of the world’s most important automotive shows will switch to new summer schedule dates in June which organizers hope will provide an added lure for out-of-town visitors, with warmer weather permitting some of the show’s events to be staged outdoors.

“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.

NAIAS officials this past week announced they have signed a new seven-year contract to remain at Cobo Center, while also announcing dates for the June 2020 show.

The initial summer show in will begin with a press preview on June 9-10, an industry preview on June 10-11, charity preview on June 12 and then opening to the public between Saturday, June 13, and Saturday, June 20, 2020.

“Cobo Center is a world-class venue and the perfect home for NAIAS each year,” Rod Alberts, the auto show’s executive director, said in a statement. “Over the past 30 years, we have hosted thousands of international journalists, industry executives and thought leaders and consumers.

“We are delighted to continue our partnership and look forward to the transformation NAIAS will undergo in 2020.”

But next month provides one final chance for the public to visit Cobo for the show during the cold of winter.

Tickets are now on sale and available for all events with the public show scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 19, through Sunday, Jan. 27. Tickets this year are US$14 per adult; $7 for seniors ages 65 and older; $7 for children ages 7 to 12 and free for children 6 years old and under accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Tickets can be purchased online by visiting

Other scheduled dates for this year’s upcoming show include Jan. 14-15 for the press preview, Jan. 16-17 for the industry preview and Jan. 18 for the charity preview.

“Our 2019 show is going to be a transformative year for the show, and we’re looking forward to delivering events that offer something for all attendees — from global executives to car enthusiasts alike,” Alberts said.

A primary feature of the show, still relatively new, will be AutoMobili-D, a 150,000-square-foot exhibition area that features an array of automakers, suppliers, investors and tech startups showcasing future mobility platforms.

“The North American International Auto Show is a global stage for game-changing companies to demonstrate and debut technologies on future mobility and transportation platforms,” said Bill Golling, chairman for the 2019 NAIAS.

He anticipates there will be at least 30 new vehicle reveals or debuts at the Detroit show in January.

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