News Column

2013 Detroit Auto Show to Kick Off Jan. 14

June 21, 2012

Nathan Bomey

The North American International Auto Show is set to celebrate its 25th anniversary as a global event, and the Detroit Auto Dealers Association provided a few details about the 2013 festivities.

NAIAS will start with press previews Jan. 14-15, followed by industry previews Jan. 16-17, the charity preview Jan. 18 and public days will begin Jan. 19 and run through Jan. 27.

The event, which traces its roots back to the first Detroit Auto Show in 1907, was renamed in 1989 in a bid to transform the show into the world's most high-profile showcase of new vehicles and automotive innovation.

In 2008 and 2009, when the darkest days of the auto industry coincided with questions about whether the show might abandon its aging venue, Cobo Center, the show took a few steps back.

But Rod Alberts, executive director of NAIAS, said today at a press conference that the show is on solid footing after recently signing a new five-year deal to stay at Cobo, which is undergoing a $299 million renovation. Cobo will continue to host the auto show during the project, which is expected to be complete by the 2015 event.

Alberts also cited data showing that the Detroit auto show generated twice as much media coverage as the New York show, more than three times the Los Angeles show and seven times the Chicago show.

"We're back to where we were four or five years ago. It shows media are coming back, coverage is coming back and we're where we want to be now," Alberts said.

The show, which benefited from unusually balmy winter in January, drew 5,265 members of the media and 770,932 public attendees. Manufacturers showed off 42 new vehicles, including 38 for the first time in the world.

"I'm certain, weather willing and with the resurgence of the car companies -- Ford, Chrysler and GM -- and increased consumer confidence, that number will only get bigger in 2013," Detroit Mayor Dave Bing said today. "With a global audience and international media from dozens of countries, this is almost feeling like we have the Super Bowl here every year."

The show was bumped back a week for 2013, providing more time after the holidays. It also won't conflict with the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, which often features auto technologies.

As NAIAS officials continue planning the 2013 show, manufacturers annually jockey for positioning on the show floor and in the press conference lineup. Alberts offered a brief teaser this morning, showing an early version of a floor plan that showed Cadillac separate from General Motors' Chevrolet, Buick and GMC brands.

"We've got another 44 floor plans to go, but it's close," Alberts said.

Source: (c) 2012 the Detroit Free Press

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