The North American International Auto Show, more popularly known as the Detroit Auto Show, is expected to return to its traditional January timeframe after two years of show dates in September. The last time the Detroit Auto Show was held in January was in 2019 prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Although automaker participation in major auto shows is in decline, the Detroit Auto Show remains a major attraction.
According to a report from The Detroit News, which cites two anonymous sources familiar with the matter, show organizers are likely to move the event dates back to January, although an official announcement has yet to be made. For the last several years, the Detroit Auto Show was held during September. However, it’s reported that the back-to-school rush of September competed for attention, while the traditional January dates would help to stir up sales during the typically quiet winter months.
Event organizers originally planned to hold the show in June for the 2020 calendar year, which was expected to provide warmer weather and more opportunities for outdoors events. However, organizers canceled the 2020 show in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Organizers staged an outdoor event called Motor Bella at the M1 Concourse in Pontiac in 2021. The Detroit Auto Show returned in late September of the 2022 calendar year.
With the increasing popularity of internet-based research and digital auto shopping among customers, in-person events like auto shows are falling out of favor among automakers. Earlier this month, Stellantis announced that it would end its corporate presence at North American auto shows, with the automaker citing the “challenging automotive market in North America” and a desire to “optimize its marketing strategy as it relates to auto shows.” Moving forward, the decision to participate in a given show will be in the hands of Stellantis dealers.
Nevertheless, the Detroit Auto Show remains a popular event, with organizers estimating that attendance in 2022 beat projections of 300,000 to 500,000 people.