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North American International Auto Show Moving To June In 2020

Show organizers say this transformational move aims to deliver more robust opportunities for participating brands and attendees.

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Rendering of the 2020 show.

The North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) announced that starting in 2020 the show would make a transformational move to June and will start the week of June 8. Planners for the event say 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. A key aspect of the event in the future will be to deliver greater ROI through reduced costs and dynamic opportunities.

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“Our show is undergoing its most significant transformation in the past three decades,” said Rod Alberts, executive director, NAIAS. “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.”

NAIAS is one of the most influential global auto events, touching all facets of the industry and attracting the largest concentration of the world’s top industry leaders – from automakers and suppliers, to tech startups and venture capitalists, to universities and policymakers.

“The North American International Auto Show is an amazing exhibition that showcases the most innovative and creative automotive companies around the world,” said Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder. “Moving the show to the summer opens up new opportunities for companies as well as creating new experiences for attendees.”

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The show is run by the Detroit Auto Dealers Association (DADA) and its executive board. As part of the DADA and board’s due diligence in exploring new opportunities for the show, hundreds of meetings and conversations with key stakeholders – automakers, suppliers and sponsors, as well as industry and government leaders – were held around the world.

“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.”

Embracing the Industry’s Change 

Auto show dynamics are changing globally as the auto industry undergoes its biggest shift in more than a century. As such, automakers are seeking out increasingly creative ways to debut vehicles and engage with consumers. NAIAS says plans have been underway for more than a year as the organization 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.

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“As we look to break out of the traditional auto show model, there is not a need to follow the normal show season,” added North. “The new direction and focus of the show will disrupt the normal cadence of traditional shows and create a new event unparalleled in the industry.”

Endless Opportunities for Brand Activations 

The reimagined show will undergo an evolution that will take the show from inside Cobo Center to a canvas of unlimited brand activation and engagement opportunities – a canvas only limited by exhibitor creativity and imagination. While the successful foundation of the show inside Cobo Center will continue with vehicles and innovative mobility technologies being showcased, transformation plans call for growth in both branding and event opportunities at multiple venues throughout Detroit, and perhaps, beyond.

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“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.

NAIAS says hosting the show in June sets the stage for exhibitors to conduct dynamic outdoor experiential brand activations, immersing and engaging the media and consumers in memorable product experiences. A sampling of outdoor experiential activities might include:

  • Dynamic vehicle debuts
  • Ride and drives
  • Autonomous/automated driving
  • Off-road challenges

It’s envisioned that activation sites will be located throughout downtown Detroit, including at some of the city’s jewels such as Hart Plaza, Detroit RiverWalk, Campus Martius, Woodward Avenue and Grand Circus Park.

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Activation spots might even extend beyond the downtown area to historic automotive locations or state parks such as Belle Isle.

“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.

Cost Benefits for Exhibitors

The move to June will translate into substantial cost savings for exhibitors. By eliminating November, December and January holidays from the move-in equation, exhibitors will see reduced overtime labor costs for builds. In addition, the show will have a shorter move-in schedule of three weeks, significantly reduced from the current eight 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.

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Preparations Underway for Coming Year

The January 2019 NAIAS looks to build off the significant buzz generated this past show where media metrics reports from PRIME Research indicate NAIAS remains the global leader among domestic shows in terms of influence as it garners the largest reach, number of articles and share of voice.

“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.”

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For more information, visit naias.com.

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