DETROIT — The Detroit auto show is changing dates — again.
After reimagining the new vehicle showcase as a summertime indoor/outdoor event, originally scheduled for June 2020 but postponed a year because of the coronavirus pandemic, show organizers said Monday the event would take place Sept. 28 to Oct. 9, 2021, and would remain in the fall moving forward.
The change comes weeks after organizers for the Los Angeles Auto Show said they would move the 2020 show from November to May 2021, wedging itself in between the New York and Detroit shows. And in Europe, the Geneva auto show is considering a March 2021 date.
"Our responsibility as an auto show is to host a global stage for current products as well as mobility innovations of tomorrow," North American International Auto Show Executive Director Rod Alberts said in a statement. "September is an excellent time of year for new product, and at the same time, alleviates the challenges a now crowded spring auto show calendar presents for auto show stakeholders."
Doug North, chairman of the 2021 show, said organizers considered an October timeframe before they made the initial switch from January to June, but decided it would be too close to the traditional November L.A. event. When the L.A. show announced its own move to May, they decided to act.
“We felt like the stars really lined up,” he told Automotive News.
He said he didn’t expect any bad blood between the show organizers moving forward.
“I think by making this move, it does provide greater opportunity for New York and L.A. to have good shows and not be on top of ours,” he said. “I think it’s to their advantage that we moved.”
North said he’s received “strong support” from virtually all automakers. The move means they no longer have to divide up vehicle reveals and precious marketing dollars over what would have been a three-shows-in-three-months stretch.
“Every manufacturer has a history of new vehicles being out in the fall,” he said. “This really fits their timeframe.”
After spending the past year touting the advantages of warm weather, organizers are now looking forward to cooler air.
“With seasonable autumn temperatures and technology and experiential activations positioned throughout the city, show visitors will be able to enjoy fall in a walkable, vibrant Motor City while embracing the future of the industry right before their eyes,” North said in a statement.
North said the show will include all of the same features planned for the summer event, including outdoor displays as well as ride-and-drives. There were even plans for a German Haus near the convention center that would feature an outdoor biergarten.
“Those are two of the nicest months we have in southeast Michigan,” North said. “We haven’t found anything that would be negatively impacted.”
Among the new additions that will carry over will be Motor Bella, a three-day weekend kickoff to the show featuring Italian and British supercars that will now take place Sept. 24-26.
For the original June date, organizers wanted to stage vehicles in parking lots across from the Detroit Athletic Club and Detroit Opera House, as well as along a stretch of Broadway Street. Italian eateries were expected to set up tents along the boulevard.
It will be followed by The Gallery on Sept. 26; press preview days Sept. 28-29; Automobili-D Sept. 28-30; Industry Preview Sept. 29-30; Charity Preview Oct. 1 and public days Oct. 2-9.