North American International Auto Show in Detroit Moving to Summer in 2020

2019 Show Still Taking Place in January

The North American International Auto Show, one of the most popular (and only) reasons to visit Detroit in January, will move to the more hospitable summer months starting in 2020. That year, the legendary show will take place the week of June 8, confirming rumors that show organizers were considering moving the show to optimize its appeal.

The North American International Auto Show, which is run by the Detroit Auto Dealers Association (DADA), has seen declining manufacturer participation for the past few years, with automakers like BMW, Audi, and Mercedes-Benz bowing out of the 2019 event. It’s possible that competition from the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, which also takes place in January, is drawing automakers away from more conventional auto show events.

“Our ultimate goal is to provide an experience and opportunity for participating companies and attendees that only Detroit can offer,” said DADA President Doug North. “June will allow us to better showcase the automotive leadership, development, and heritage our great city and region holds.”

DADA also says that changing dynamics within the auto industry allow it to abandon the traditional auto show season. The organizers also claim that the show will be cheaper to run than in the past since it will be further away from the winter holidays that require overtime-paid workdays for move-in and show design. Cost savings alone could be enough to entice more automakers to participate.

Furthermore, moving the show to June allows organizers to expand its presence, currently weatherbound to mostly indoor events. But Detroit’s pleasant early summer weather will give exhibitors flexibility in designing outdoor events like test drives, stunt courses, and other attendee activations.

Of course, the show’s new summertime digs could work against it in some ways. The current-generation Ford F-150 was revealed in Detroit, allowing the company to drum up excitement for the new truck for nearly a year before it finally went on sale in late 2014. And the 2019 Ford Ranger, Ram 1500, and Chevrolet Silverado 1500 were revealed at this year’s show—June would have definitely been too late for the Ram 1500, which went on sale in May. It’s possible future debuts will shift to February’s Chicago Auto Show or March’s New York International Auto Show, allowing automakers to milk the better part of a year before putting new vehicles in showrooms.

Regardless (and very selfishly), we’re happy to see the show move to June—Detroit in January can be inhospitably cold, and we at Truck Trend are soft-footed Californians who prefer temperatures to be above freezing. We’ve got one more year of chilly Detroit action, but after that, we’ll be happy to greet Michigan in the summer.