The 2020 Detroit Auto Show Could Take Place in June, Instead of January [News]

Some report officials could change the name as well

Detroit Auto Show
The Detroit Auto Show, host to debuts such as the new Ford GT, may move to June starting in 2020. [Photo: TFLcar]

Officials are mulling the move after a wave of manufacturers pulled out of the 2019 show.

For years, the North American International Auto Show, also known as the Detroit Auto Show, has been the venue for scores of major car launches. As Detroit is home to the Big Three automakers and America’s iconic automotive city, show officials aim to keep the show relevant. That’s particularly true as many high-profile manufacturers pull out of the 2019 show. To date, Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz are skipping the show. So are Porsche, Jaguar, Land Rover and Volvo. As traditional auto shows lose momentum, the Detroit Auto Dealers Association (DADA) looks to adapt new elements to reinvigorate the show.

The Detroit News and Detroit Free Press are reporting the show’s organizers are considering moving the show to June in 2020, rather than its current January slot. Hosting the 2020 Detroit Auto Show in June would provide a few distinct advantages. First and foremost, the general public may be more inclined to visit the show during the summer. If they do make that sort of move, the show would appeal more to consumers, rather than just the media and industry executives. It also provides a venue to hold more of the show outdoors, rather than in the Cobo Center where the show is traditionally held.

Taking the show outdoors

According to the Detroit News and Free Press, the DADA seeks to incorporate elements from the Goodwood Festival of Speed. Goodwood has grown since 1993, and features a hill climb, a supercar run and a “moving motor show”. That last one could change the Detroit Auto Show, as it allows consumers and media to actually experience new models. To that end, organizers and manufacturers can host more outdoor attractions. After all, it’s easier to do that in June when its warmer than in January, where temperatures average 32 degrees Fahrenheit.

2020 Detroit Auto Show could move to June
Automakers like Audi have already pulled out of the 2019 Detroit Auto Show [Photo: Audi]

Kicking off the auto show season, possibly with a new name

DADA also reportedly considered the benefit of moving the 2020 Detroit Show out of the thick of auto show season. Right now, the Detroit Auto Show is preceded by Los Angeles in late November. After Detroit, there’s the Chicago Auto Show in February and the New York Auto Show, which will take place in April next year. If you consider the auto show season officially over with New York, that move would put Detroit right at the front of the line for the next show season.

Moving the show to June may stimulate interests as it plays on increased tourism during the summer months. However, it would also leave a big gap in the Cobo Center’s schedule. According to the Detroit Free Press report, Patrick Bero, CEO of the Detroit Regional Convention Facility Authority, would work to find other conventions to fill the gap. “If [the Detroit Auto Show] moved, we would go out to the marketplace and try to find other events. We’re not going to stand idle.”

The dealer’s association is planning to make a formal announcement regarding the 2020 show on July 24. The dates for the 2019 show won’t change. The DADA is also reportedly mulling a name change, eschewing the North American International Auto Show designation used since 1989.

Stay tuned to TFLcar.com for more updates!

Zach Butler
Zach is a writer and Managing Editor for TFLcar. He has held a lifelong passion for cars, with a particular interest in hot hatchbacks and off-road rigs. Born and raised in Colorado, Zach holds a Bachelor's Degree in English from Colorado State University, and is based in Boulder, Colorado.