Organizers of the Detroit Auto Show, also known as the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS), confirmed Thursday evening that the event will be returning to its traditional January dates in 2024, according to the Detroit Free Press. Once considered one of the world's most important auto shows due to its link to the Big Three, a decline in attendance prompted organizers to rethink the concept of holding an auto show in the dead of winter.
In July 2018, organizers announced that the 2020 show would move from January to June, citing better opportunities for automakers to engage with the public. A new concept would allow for outdoor exhibits and interactive experiences that frigid January weather made impossible. This would allow the show to be more marketable to established automakers as well as emerging ones. It also, theoretically, solved for an existing conflict with the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, which also happens every January and has become far more relevant to automakers over the last decade. But with COVID kneecapping the 2020 and 2021 shows, NAIAS's new format did not launch until 2022.
Let's just say, it wasn't exactly a hit.
"This update reflects our efforts to continue to reimagine the Detroit Auto Show while keeping an eye on what matters most — getting people excited about cars," Rod Alberts, executive director of the Detroit Auto Dealers Association, told the Free Press. "The pandemic was a pivotal moment for auto shows and other large events," said Ayalla Ruvio, associate professor of marketing at Michigan State University. "The pandemic changed consumer behavior, and it’s not changing back."
The 2025 show will take place in mid-January, with a charity gala kicking things off on Jan. 10 and running until Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Jan. 20. With domestic and foreign automakers reconsidering their investments in auto shows, it'll be interesting to see what this change does to improve attendance not just from the general public, but ultimately automakers and media alike.
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