DETROIT -- Daniel Hayes, former executive vice president of the Detroit Auto Dealers Association and a key player in transforming the Detroit auto show into the North American International Auto Show, died Saturday at his home in suburban Detroit. He was 84.
Hayes was executive vice president of the dealer association from 1975 to 1993 and general manager of the auto show from 1976 to 1993.
In 1989 the show become international, a move credited to several key players, including Automotive News Editor-in-Chief Keith Crain and Ken Meade, a Detroit-area luxury import dealer.
Two luxury brands debuted at the 1989 event -- Toyota introduced Lexus and Nissan launched Infiniti.
Bob McCurry, then head of Toyota sales in the United States, made the first commitment for the Lexus introduction. Other dealers key to the change included David Fischer, CEO of the Suburban Collection dealership group near Detroit.
Cobo Center, home of the Detroit auto show, underwent a more than $200 million expansion and renovation in 1988 in preparation for the international show.
Rod Alberts, Hayes' successor as executive vice president of the dealers association, said the change helped stimulate Detroit's economy and gained attention for the show.
"He was one of the forefathers of the auto show that I highly respect," Alberts said. "I came here because of Dan Hayes."
Hayes was born July 16, 1928, in Milwaukee and graduated from Marquette High School, where he played basketball and pole vaulted. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in philosophy from Marquette University.
He is survived by daughters Genevieve Hayes, Julie Sawchuk, Catherine Seago and Allison Koppel; grandchildren Hillary, Dan, Olivia, Georgie, David, Adam and Genevieve; brothers Thomas, Patrick and Michael Hayes; and sisters Genevieve Shaughnessy and Alice Seidenstricker. He is preceded in death by his wife, Donna.
Visitation is 4 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at Lynch & Sons Funeral Home, 1368 N. Crooks Road, Clawson, Mich. The funeral is 11 a.m. Wednesday at the same location.
Ryan Kelly is a reporter for Crain's Detroit Business.