In many ways, it’s difficult to imagine January in Detroit without journalists and aficionados from around the world descending upon the Motor City to investigate, contemplate, and celebrate the automotive industry. Yet, in 2020, January will move over and make way for June to play host to a completely reinvented North American International Auto Show (NAIAS). The new auto experience will start the week of June 8th.

Let’s face it, January weather has long played a mostly unwelcome role in the show. By moving to late spring, a myriad of possibilities open up. While not totally confined by indoor space, participating organizations can showcase the city as much as the vehicles it’s known for building. It will likely lead to more exciting and experiential exhibits, like Dynamic Vehicle Debuts, Ride and Drives, Autonomous Driving and maybe even Off-Road Challenges.

The move comes amidst pressure from long-time participating brands faced with increasing scheduling conflicts. Preparation over the holiday season has also always meant increased labor costs, which may now be reduced. Despite the rising challenges, it was not an easy decision.

The event is run by the Detroit Auto Dealers Association (DADA). In exploring new opportunities for the show, DADA held hundreds of meetings and conversations with automakers, suppliers and sponsors, as well as industry and government leaders, before announcing the decision to make a drastic change.

“Our ultimate goal is to provide an experience and opportunity for participating companies and attendees, that only Detroit can offer,” said Doug North, DADA President. “June will allow us to better showcase the automotive leadership, development and heritage our great city and region holds.”

The re-imagined show will undergo an evolution that will take it from inside Cobo Center to a citywide canvas limited only by exhibitor creativity and imagination. Cobo Center will continue to play a significant role, with vehicles and innovative mobility technologies being showcased there, but transformation plans call for growth in both branding and event opportunities at multiple venues throughout Detroit, and possibly the region.

“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.

Moving NAIAS to June, in particular, sandwiches the event between two of the earliest summer highlights starting the month with the roar of the Grand Prix on Belle Isle, and going out with the bang of the fireworks over the Detroit River. June 2020, just may become the hottest month of the year in Motown.


Author: Lisa Diggs

Lisa Diggs is a writer, speaker, entrepreneur, business consultant, avid traveler, and founder of The Catalyst Company, LLC, Michigan Positivity Project, and Buy Michigan Now.