The last Detroit Auto Show (North American International Auto Show officially) took place way, way back in January 2019. At the time, organizers announced that the event was moving to June of the following year. There were many good reasons for that decision, but one of them was obviously not the coming pandemic. A show that could have been held in January 2020 under the old calendar simply couldn’t go on in June, in the middle of the pandemic that turned 2020 on its head.
That said, event organizers had already announced in early 2019 that some activities would take place outside. It looks like this will be emphasized even more when the show returns in 2022.
See also: Detroit Auto Show Cancelled for 2021
Now, officials have confirmed that the event will return next year, but with smaller indoor exhibits and a greater focus on giving visitors an outdoor experience to discover new vehicles and technologies.
Rod Alberts, director of the Detroit Auto Dealers Association, says the 2022 show will be held in downtown Detroit. He also explains that the show will have to change from the past, for one thing because automakers won't want to spend as much on elaborate and expensive displays to unveil their most important new models. The trend is towards virtual unveilings outside of auto shows that cost relatively little and provide good visibility, since there’s no need to compete for attention with other automakers at a car show.
Remember that some manufacturers actually pulled out of the Detroit show and other automotive events long before the pandemic.
Alberts believes Detroit and other shows need to change to appeal more to millennials who like to experience things rather than just be spectators.
He envisions a mainly outdoor, mostly walkable event that uses the entire downtown area. Smaller exhibits, indoor electric model testing, and participatory experiences will all be part of the mix. And because the show will be held in June rather than January, everyone will be able to take advantage of the good weather.
“You can't just keep doing the same things over and over again”," Rod Alberts told the Automotive Press Association of Detroit.
Whatever form the event does take, the announcement that the Detroit Auto Show will be held in 2022 (if things continue to improve, of course) is great news. Across the industry and the globe, automotive events are starting to come back to life.
Last month, the Chicago Auto Show announced it would return to downtown in July. The New York International Auto Show is scheduled to return Aug. 20-29 at the Javits Convention Center, while the Los Angeles Auto Show will return Nov. 19-28 at the city's convention centre.