The Ford exhibit at the North American International Auto Show at Cobo Center, Detroit, January 15, 2018. Photo by Mark Brown/Blackburn News.

Is the Detroit Auto Show Changing Seasons?

North America’s most prestigious auto show may be changing places on the calendar.

Several publications report that the North American International Auto Show in Detroit could be trading snowflakes for falling leaves in considering a move from January to October.

The proposed change was first reported by the Wall Street Journal. However, Crain’s Detroit Business Automotive News is citing an unnamed person close to the situation. The person spoke to the publication on condition of anonymity.

If a shift does happen, the Journal says that it could happen in October 2020. The source indicates that the move is necessary to distance the NAIAS from the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, as well as open up opportunities for automakers to have exhibits outdoors.

Detroit has held an auto show on and off for over a century, and it has been held in January for decades to coincide with the auto industry’s showcasing of its new yearly models. The Detroit Auto Show has been held at Cobo Center since 1965 but became international in scope in 1988. The show has attracted thousands of suppliers and journalists from all over the world.

Over 809,000 people attended the show during its public days in January, including car lovers from Windsor-Essex and beyond.

However, significant automotive brands such as Mercedes-Benz have announced they will not participate in the 2019 NAIAS and introduce their new models elsewhere. According to the Automotive News, Mazda, Volvo and other carmakers have withdrawn from the Detroit show recently due to costs or changes in marketing strategies.

Auto shows in New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago (the largest in North America) have competed with Detroit for the introduction of new models and concept vehicles.

Any shift to the fall would require some manoeuvring, the Automotive News says. The NAIAS has a contract with Cobo Center to hold the event in January through at least 2025. Set-up for the show begins in October, and any change in dates would result in shortening the construction schedule and starting it in September.