The Detroit Auto Dealers Association (DADA) will make one of the biggest changes to the Detroit Auto Show in decades: moving the event from January to June in 2020.
The idea is to capitalize on Detroit’s outdoor spaces and incorporate more of a festival atmosphere in the like of the Goodwood Festival of Speed. But can the show find success? The Detroit Auto Show will truly be an experiment as the first major auto show to refocus its efforts. And it’s safe to say the traditional auto show as we know it is dead.
Shifts began years ago as automakers more often moved to off-site events, sometimes days before the show itself opened. Brands have quickly booked time away from auto shows to reveal products in an effort to cluster journalists in one place and keep the limelight on one thing at a time. It’s hard to steal the limelight when a dozen other automakers reveal vehicles sometimes an hour apart.
Detroit in 2020 will bring a festival-like atmosphere to the show with outdoor displays, “dynamic debuts,” and entertainment. The goal is a destination for the general public and car nuts alike.
“What we look to deliver in 2020 and beyond will be unique to Detroit and showcase not only our great city, but the global automotive leadership this region holds,” DADA spokesperson Max Muncey said in a July report.
There’s no way DADA can mirror the Goodwood Festival of Speed entirely, but the show organizers believe it’s a blueprint to re-interpret the traditional auto show.
Will it work? That remains to be seen, but automakers such as General Motors, Ford, Toyota, and Hyundai have gone on the record to support such a change. If Detroit does reinvent the auto show as we know it, DADA will have pulled off quite a marvel. This January, however, we’ll toast the end of an era as the snow falls outside COBO during auto reveals one final time.