Because weather, CES, and automaker influence

The Detroit Auto Show is on the cusp of a long-overdue decision that will effectively move the show out of the winter doldrums of January into a later month with a far more inviting climate. Nothing is official yet, but there’s growing momentum that America’s most esteemed auto show will be moved from January to October beginning in 2020. A decision is expected to be made in the coming weeks as the Detroit Auto Dealers Association is scheduled to vote on uprooting the show from its winter roots and moving it to the fall.

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There are a number of things that are wrong with having the show in January

Like everybody who has been keeping tabs on this situation, this vote should be nothing more than a formality. The Detroit Auto Show should move to a different month. A lot of people have been trying to make that case for years, and it looks like organizers are finally smelling the roses.

There are a number of things that are wrong with having the show in January. First, there’s the weather. If you’ve ever been to Detroit in January, chances are you’ve probably experienced what winter is like in that frozen tundra. It may not snow all the time, but the chilling temperature in that area isn’t exactly inviting to a lot of people, let alone people from all over the world, a lot of whom are probably coming from their own winter wonderhell. It was bearable in year’s past because a lot of automakers actually went to Detroit, but that has changed in recent years with the mass exodus of auto brands at the event.

Speaking of which, that’s the next point. Automakers are starting to understand the appeal of finding alternative venues or events to showcase their latest products. Whether it’s at an event like the Consumer Electronics Show that happens a week before the Detroit Auto Show, or a privately organized event at a much more appealing destination, a lot of these auto brands have embraced the potential of these kinds of events, and they’re doing so at the expense of attending the Detroit Auto Show. Mercedes-Benz, Mazda, Land Rover, Tesla, BMW, Mini, Jaguar, Land Rover, Porsche, Aston Martin, Bentley, Lamborghini, and Ferrari have all skipped the show or are planning to in the coming years. If this trend holds up, Mitsubishi could end up headlining the show. Oh, wait. Mitsubishi’s skipping Detroit too? Nevermind.

Mercedes-Benz, Mazda, Land Rover, Tesla, BMW, Mini, Jaguar, Land Rover, Porsche, Aston Martin, Bentley, Lamborghini, and Ferrari have all skipped the show or are planning to in the coming years

This leads us to the proposal to move Detroit to October. It’s a brilliant move. Not only does it remove potential frostbite from the equation, but it also gives the show more room to breathe without getting choked out by the rising influence and popularity of CES. Based on the auto show calendar, October is a sweet spot to hold an auto show. It’s a month after the Frankfurt Motor Show and a few months before the Los Angeles Auto Show. There is the Paris Motor Show to contend with, but little adjustments to the scheduling could make it work.

Having the Detroit Auto Show in October also gives automakers a venue to showcase their new model year cars, a lot of whom usually arrive around the same time. Sure, the New York Auto Show already owns that space in some ways, but the seven-month gap between the two shows provides plenty of opportunities for automakers to showcase their new production models at both events without any meaningful overlaps.

There are a number of reasons why the Detroit Auto Show should move from January to October. Here’s to hoping that the people who can actually make that happen remove nostalgia from the equation and do what’s best for the show. If it doesn’t, there’s a good chance that the show will never be the same again.

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Source: Wall Street Journal

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