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Detroit show moving to June in 2020

by Ronan Glon

\"Our show is undergoing its most significant transformation in the last three decades.\"

Ending months of rumors and speculation, the organizers of the annual North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) have announced they'll begin holding the event in June in 2020.

"Our show is undergoing its most significant transformation in the last three decades," said Rod Alberts, NAIAS' executive director, in a statement published online.

The 2020 edition of the event -- which is colloquially called the Detroit auto show -- will start during the week of June 8th. It has been held in January for decades but it took a beating when cars and technology started colliding at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) that's usually held at about the same time in Las Vegas, Nevada. Companies from over the automotive spectrum started skipping Detroit to make major product announcements in Sin City. For example, BMW recently announced plans to sit out next year's Detroit show yet Leftlane can reveal it will have an immense presence at next year's CES.

It's not just BMW. Mercedes-Benz and Audi won't attend next year's edition of the show, either, and they'll decide whether to participate in future events on a case-by-case basis. Volvo, Ferrari, Maserati, Mini, Jaguar, and Land Rover have all sat out the show for years.

The Detroit Auto Dealers Association (DADA) which puts on the NAIAS hopes the new date will prevent the show from spiraling into regional irrelevance like comparable events held in Miami and Dallas, among other cities. Organizers plan to take advantage of the milder weather and the longer days to move a chunk of the event outdoors, which they couldn't do in the middle of January for evident reasons. Renderings and a brief promotional video (shown above) published by NAIAS illustrate off-road test tracks for SUVs, live entertainment, and "the food that made Detroit a culinary hotspot." Attendees might also get the opportunity to take test drives or test rides, experience dynamic vehicle debuts, and see autonomous cars in action.

The move to June could also turn into a much longer celebration. Since car companies will no longer be confined under the Cobo Center's powerful heating system, they'll be able to hold events throughout downtown Detroit area and even beyond the city limits. Alberts pointed out the possibility of creating a month-long car-themed festival that starts with the Detroit Grand Prix, transitions into the auto show, and ends with fireworks on the river.

"As we look to break out of the traditional auto show model, there is not a need to follow the normal show season. 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," predicted DADA president Doug North.

DADA added the new date will drastically reduce the cost of participating in the Detroit auto show. Hyundai, Toyota, Ford, and General Motors issued statements to praise the move and the show's newfound direction. Time will tell whether members of the media and, significantly, attendees will, too.