DETROIT — The Detroit auto show is undergoing a drastic reorganization in 2020, when it will move from the dead of winter to early June to better appeal to car shoppers — and the growing list of automakers that have dropped out in recent years — with outdoor displays and on-road vehicle demonstrations.
The Detroit Auto Dealers Association, which puts on the show, says the changes should help automakers save money, reducing move-in costs by 30 to 40 percent and cutting setup time to three weeks from an average of eight weeks now. One reason June would be cheaper is that exhibitors no longer would need to pay overtime around Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day.
But whether the move can reinvigorate the show, which draws more than 800,000 attendees and is estimated to contribute nearly $500 million to the local economy, as more automakers reveal their latest models at alternative venues is less clear. Rod Alberts, the show's executive director, thinks it can.
"We'd be foolish to not see the trending of what's going on in the industry and think we can continue to do the same thing," Alberts said in an interview. "We have to reformulate and reimagine what we need to be."