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Detroit Auto Show To Move To Warmer Months Starting In 2020

The Detroit Auto Show – more properly known as the “North American International Auto Show” (NAIAS) – will move away from its usual January date range starting in 2020, The Detroit News reports. The expo has been hosted in the city of Detroit every January for several decades now, but the timing of the event causes some issues; for one thing, it’s smack dab in the middle of “auto show season” and occurs just after the new year, making it a hard sell for automakers weighing which auto show to choose to unveil brand-new product.

For another, snow, ice, and below-freezing temperatures make it a hard sell for consumers who would just as soon curl up at home, and the conditions make it impractical for automakers to offer on-site test drives outdoors.

NAIAS spokesperson Max Muncey told The Detroit News Thursday that a formal announcement regarding the show’s new date will come on July 24th. Previously, organizers had been considering a June or October date range for the show, with the former supported by General Motors. GM envisions the show fitting into a “massive festival of automotive,” in the words of Senior VP of Global Communications Tony Cervone, which could incorporate concerts and other outdoor events, perhaps including the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix.

Show organizers also plan to change the official title of the North American International Auto Show, although an announcement on that matter isn’t expected until well after the new date is announced, The Detroit News reports. Currently, about a dozen new names are being considered.

Why Now?

Organizers are prepared to move the dates of the Detroit Auto Show as a growing number of global automotive brands pull out of the event, including Audi, BMW, Ferrari, Jaguar, Land Rover, Maserati, Mercedes-Benz, Mini, Porsche, and Volvo. American automakers like Ford Motor Company don’t seem to have any intention of quitting the show, but Ford has been giving events like the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) – also held in January, just ahead of NAIAS – more love in recent years, detracting some from its Detroit presence.

Case in point: where 2015 was a highly memorable year for Ford, with the introduction of the Ford GT concept, Shelby GT350R, and F-150 Raptor off-road performance truck, two years later, the automaker shortchanged the show with the unveiling of the 2018 Mustang, waiting until partway through the weeks-long show before revealing the new car.

Were the Detroit Auto Show moved to a more optimal time of year, when Detroit’s downtown area is bustling with foot traffic and automakers are fixing to show off next year’s products, automakers might have more reason to embrace the show and use it as a venue to unveil important new products.

Aaron Brzozowski is a writer and motoring enthusiast from Detroit with an affinity for '80s German steel. He is not active on the Twitter these days, but you may send him a courier pigeon.

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