Detroit’s North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) has long been held in the cold, dark months of January in the windowless Cobo Hall downtown. Auto shows across the globe have been facing longer lists of no-shows in recent years and the prestigious event in the Motor City is no exception. Porsche, Land Rover, Mazda, and Jaguar were absent this past January and Mercedes-Benz and BMW are pulling out of the 2019 installment. As foreign and luxury car brands explore other avenues for marketing their new models, the NAIAS hopes to revitalize a struggling brand by making sweeping changes.
With new restaurants, hotels, and entertainment venues opening up every day in the city, the 2020 show will take advantage of the warm June weather across various indoor and outdoor venues around Downtown Detroit. The Detroit News suggests the show may take on more of a festival flavor inspired by the Goodwood Festival of Speed in the United Kingdom.
The Festival of Speed in West Sussex, England is a three-day event featuring “a hill climb, supercar runs and a moving motor show” and attracted around 200,000 attendees in 2017. For comparison, the latest Detroit Auto Show captured 809,161 people over 16 days (about 50,573 people per day).
The traditional June Grand Prix on Belle Isle and Ford fireworks will add to the festive feeling surrounding this new format, and interactive events and stands will draw more casual viewers downtown to participate in the warm weather. Auto shows everywhere are realizing that even car fanatics are bored with the stuffy showroom feel that has permeated its brand, but thankfully the Detroit show is adapting to ensure the ‘motor’ stays in the Motor City.
By Jared Hoffman
Senior Research Associate, JMJ Phillip Group