The North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit has been a launching pad for automakers to announce new vehicles and product innovations for more than three decades. But recently, the influential auto industry event, known for kicking off the global show circuit every January, has seen a slowdown in engagement.
In 2019, the show had 30 new car reveals, compared to 69 in 2018. Last year’s show also saw a 5% decrease in attendance, with 774,179 ticketed attendees compared to 809,161 in 2018. Attendance numbers were also down for credentialed media, with 4,568 journalists covering the show in 2019 compared to 5,078 the previous year.
In an effort to bounce back from the attendee and exhibitor slump, organizers are reimagining the trade show for 2020 with significant programming changes. Most notably, the 32nd annual event will take place in June for the first time.
The show’s move from winter to summer means it no longer has to compete with CES, which is a go-to event for automakers to demo future mobility efforts. The move will also allow exhibitors to use outdoor spaces adjacent to its home venue of the TCF Center.
NAIAS normally holds six shows in one, but as part of the 2020 revamp, organizers this week announced a seventh event titled Motor Bella, a street festival that will highlight exotic cars from the United Kingdom and Italy as well as food from both regions. The inaugural festival will be produced in partnership with the Consulate of Italy in Detroit and British Consulate General in Chicago, with support from sponsors including PNC Bank.
“When we began to reenvision NAIAS, our goal was to expand the show into the city, provide more ways for the community to interact with the brands, and really showcase the global car culture throughout Detroit,” said Rod Alberts, the show’s executive director, in a statement. “Motor Bella will take place in one of the most dynamic and growing areas of the city and will give showgoers an opportunity to engage with Italian and British luxury and sports car brands.”
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