For decades, the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) was held in January. After the 2019 event, show organizers recast it as a summer show with plans to hold it in June of this year. Coronavirus delayed the show to 2021, but now the event will never see summertime in Michigan. It’s been delayed again to September 2021, and it will hold that timeslot going forward.
“We have talked with many of our partners, particularly the OEMs, and they are fully on board and excited about the date change,” said NAIAS Executive Director Rod Alberts.
The new dates for the show are September 28 through October 9. With the shift to summer, the show was recast as both an indoor and outdoor venue. That format will be retained for the late-September timeframe, though sweaters might be needed to peruse exhibits along the riverfront and Hart Plaza outside the TCF Center, formerly known as Cobo Hall.
“Our responsibility as an auto show is to host a global stage for current products as well as mobility innovations of tomorrow,” said Alberts in a statement about the move. “September is an excellent time of year for new product, and at the same time, alleviates the challenges a now crowded spring auto show calendar presents for auto show stakeholders.”
Without snow to worry about, the rebooted NAIAS is said to include more dynamic displays, ride-and-drive events, and other activities throughout the city. The NAIAS experience will technically consist of seven shows, beginning on September 24 with Motor Bella that focuses on British and Italian brands. Media days open on September 28, and the public show starts October 2.
This is the latest move in a global auto show calendar that is on unstable ground, to say the very least. Automakers were already pulling away from major shows in favor of individual events for new product reveals before the COVID-19 pandemic. Beginning with the cancellation of the 2020 Geneva Motor Show in March, every major auto show venue around the world has postponed operations until at least 2021.
Detroit’s decision to switch to September also comes amid the shifting tides of Germany’s IAA 2021, which long held the mid-late September timeslot in Frankfurt. It was announced earlier this year that the show was moving to Munich, with a new timeslot of early September. As such, Detroit’s move to the end of the month leaves just a couple of weeks between two significant automotive events taking place on opposite sides of the globe. It will be interesting to see how this plays out with automakers going forward.