Detroit auto show moves to June starting in 2020 with outdoor exhibits

NAIAS is moving to summer with plans for expanded exhibits


DETROIT – Starting in the year 2020, the annual North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit will be held in June. 

The 2020 NAIAS will start the week of June 8, organizers announced Monday. The plan is to move the show permanently from January to June, when the weather is much more agreeable in Detroit. This will help the show put together outdoor exhibits. 

The auto show will stay inside Cobo Center in Detroit, but additional exhibits will be open at "multiple venues throughout Detroit, and perhaps, beyond."    

  • Watch the 2020 NAIAS launch video above (view renderings below)

"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," reads a statement from the NAIAS. "Delivering greater ROI through reduced costs and dynamic opportunities will be a key aspect of the future show ... 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." 

Rod Alberts, executive director of NAIAS, called this the show's "most significant transformation in the last three decades." 

“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," said Alberts.

The NAIAS will include outdoor experiential activities, such as:

  • Dynamic Vehicle Debuts 
  • Ride and Drives
  • Autonomous/Automated Driving 
  • Off-Road Challenges 

New NAIAS sites in Detroit

Hart Plaza, Detroit RiverWalk, Campus Martius, Woodward Avenue and Grand Circus Park are named among some of the outdoor sites for the show. Organizers say the sites might even extend beyond the Downtown area to "historic automotive locations or state parks such as Belle Isle." 

Alberts shared a vision for the auto show to coincide with the Detroit Grand Prix and the Ford Fireworks. 

"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. "June provides us with exciting new opportunities that January just didn’t afford. 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."

Here are renderings of what those sites will look like come 2020: 


Cost benefits

NAIAS organizers say the move to June will mean savings for exhibitors.

"By eliminating November, December and January holidays from the move-in equation, exhibitors will see reduced overtime labor costs for builds," reads a statement from the NAIAS. "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."

In a news release, the NAIAS shared the following statements from participating 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.”

2019 show remains set for January

The 2019 NAIAS remains scheduled for January with the public show being held between Jan. 19-27. 

“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.” 

Here are the key dates for the 2019 show: 

  • The Gallery – Saturday, January 12
  • Press Preview – Monday-Tuesday, January 14-15
  • Industry Preview – Wednesday-Thursday, January 16-17
  • Charity Preview – Friday, January 18
  • Public Show – Saturday-Sunday, January 19-27

About the North American International Auto Show

In its 31th year as an international event, the NAIAS is the most influential annual automotive event in the world. NAAIS is where future mobility innovations meet the pavement. 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 and industry-shaping announcements. NAIAS is unmatched in the industry in presenting six unique shows in one, including: The Gallery, an ultra-luxury automotive event, AutoMobili-D, an inside look at future mobility platforms, Press Preview, Industry Preview, Charity Preview and then concluding with a nine-day Public Show. 

For more information, visit naias.com.

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