• Jun 21, 2007

When the LA show moved from January to its current November date, people said that it was a harbinger of doom for the Detroit Auto Show. Car companies may be based in Detroit, they said, but car culture is being largely defined and driven by Southern California. More recently, Porsche pulled out of the Detroit Show, saying it doesn't move much metal in Michigan. Now, according to auto journalist William Jeanes, the Detroit Auto Show might not only have LA to worry about, but Chicago.

Jeanes penned a piece in Automotive News arguing for Chicago to be the home of the end-all-be-all US auto show. Windy City folks held that column up to the world, and now Detroit's airing its response. David Fischer, NAIAS board member, said "We get more press credentials at this show than the Super Bowl," and the show leads all others in coverage and important vehicle introductions. In fact, Detroit gets more than double the number of journalists of any other show.

Still, with people calling Detroit "a necessary evil," not happy about Cobo Hall or what the city itself has to offer, and miffed at the "amateur journalists" who get some of those numerous credentials -- not to mention the rising stature of other cities' shows, could it be just a matter of time before it becomes the NAIAS ... of Los Angeles?

[Source: Detroit News]



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  • 18 Comments
      • 7 Years Ago
      Moving the NAIAS out of Detroit would be like moving the porn convention out of Vegas, its not going to happen! I am not saying Cobo is the greatest convention center, but it does need work. The political leaders around the Detroit area need to get their act together to find a resolution to this problem.

      PS Mccormick Center is in of the South side isolated from proper downtown Chicago. Cobo is downtown and within minutes of attractions in Detroit
      • 7 Years Ago
      Chicago USED to be the big north american show until about a decade ago or so when Detroit took over.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Even though it's not as "important" as Detroit, NY seems to be getting more and more production debuts which makes sense considering they see the greatest traffic. They said car culture is driven by the West Coast... but I think NY is a better representation the general US response to product.

      It makes more sense that LA and NY become the premier auto shows for the US.
        • 7 Years Ago
        How can the west coast be driving car culture when you can't drive more than 5 mph most of the time. In NY, people don't have cars and if they do, they get trashed in one year because you have to park on the street. Chicago has many of the same issues.

        Whether it's right or not, Detroit is a "car friendly" city. Where else can you drive 70 mph every day on your commute to work? When it's not rush hour, we can drive 80 mph, (and we have potholes to test the suspension and handling over bumps :-) )

        UH2L
        http://www.thingsivenoticed.com
      • 7 Years Ago
      Perhaps those who live in Detroit are jaded with it, but I have lived there in the past for two years (don't currently), and I really liked the city. Maybe that's because I live in Cleveland now, but Detroit is a pretty magical place if you're a car buff.

      And I don't measure how good an auto show is by how many restaurants are in town I like or by the square footage of the convention center. The only metric I use is how many good reveals there were and how much interest the show generates. Nothing in the U.S. compares to Detroit by that standard. L.A. did make a big jump for sure, but it's still a 1.5-day show that peters out of momentum by the end of the first day. McCormick place is so big that the auto show feels small inside of it. New York is great, not too big, not too small, packed but not uncomfortably so and great town, too.

      Nevertheless, I still look forward to Detroit the most.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Steve, you are wrong. Detroit is still and will continue to be the center of the auto industry well into the future. it is not the manufacturing center it once was but over 80% of the world's auto reseasrch is done in SE MI. Nope, not TX. Nop, not SC or Cali. Not Germany or Japan.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I saw this coming a long time ago. I attended this years show in Detroit and it was horrible. Most of the cars were on ground floor platforms and 7-8 people deep around them so you couldn't even see the damn cars unless you were 7 foot tall. There were walls that partitioned off most of the manufactures-you used to be able to walk into the main Cobo Hall exhibition space and look across the entire hall to see where the manufactures were located without needing a map. My wife and I tried to take a close up look at the Mercedes Suv's and they only let 3-4 people into the display at a time so that a Mercedes sales person could usher you in just to look at the damn cars!!!. It was ridiculously laid out with more space taken up by the tall partition walls than vehicle offerings. There was a scarcity of concept vehicles. There was a lack of exciting displays. Downstairs used to house all of your exotic cars instead they only had left over vehicles from the Hot rod show (personal vehicles people restored themselves). The temperature inside of Cobo was very hot. There were armed police walking around at every turn-my wife and I kept tripping over peoples baby strollers because there wasn't enough room for people to spread out!. It was horrible to have flown in from our vacation in Atlanta for that! I say attendance has been falling for years because of the reasons i've given and probably more, so move it to Chicago for the McCormick center is larger and logistically laid out better.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I think I wrote Chicago should get the big show a few years ago here on Autoblog long before Jeanes. Anywho...I think it's awful that the hundreds of foreign journalists that come into the detroit show to report on it have to actually visit Detroit. I think that's the impression of the U.S. they have when they go home. Sigh.

      Plus there are no good restaurants.

      Chicago, LA and NY are all tried and true convention towns. Las Vegas, Miami, Boston or Atlanta would be better convention towns than Detroit. The only thing keeping it in Detroit is the Big 3 connection. Until one of them goes belly up it'll still be bigger.

      This year L.A. definitely got the biggest leg up from moving its slot while Chicago saw the worst of the new lineup of show.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Like it or not Detroit is still VERY important to the automotive world. Last I checked it was home to the number 2 and 3 largest automakers in the world as well home to number suppliers and a massive tech center for Toyota. So to say Detroit is not relevant seems ridiculous considering the many companies within the region.

      Even the "good" cities have many bad parts as well like Chicago and L.A. which turns into a war zone in some areas as the sun sets. No big city is immune from bad images because they all exist, Detroit just has more than the rest. So if you sent journalists to any of the cities you mention they could also leave with a bad impression.
      • 7 Years Ago
      And you have to wonder if this isolation by the Big three in MI has anything to do with them being out of touch with what the buying public wants. GM used to have over 50% market share. It was theirs to loose and they have. There is a very real possibility that all three of the big three or at least 2 since Cerebus has Chrysler could be gone in a year or two.

      UAW contract talks this Dec. going to be an interesting ride.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Yes two block south of McCormick isn't the nicest area of Chicago, but it is not the ghost town of downtown detroit by far, plus there are hundreds of hotels to stay in the much nicer Downtown unlike the two decent ones in Detroit's downtown which are outrageously inflated in price during the show. There are cabs a plenty too in Chicago.

      Think of the Super Bowl, they always book it in the stadiums that are showcases, not the old rundown places. And I bet you the downtrodden-ness of Detroit does impact what foreign journalists take away from the show and think of American automakers.

      If a journalist/working media has to worry about where he's going to get a decent meal or get a non-flea infested nights sleep instead of writing about cars I think it definitely hurts the automakers. Note my other city suggestions as well. I'm not saying it has to be Chicago. I think Vegas would be really interesting or Miami.
        • 7 Years Ago
        yeah but the new Ford Field is a state of the art stadium. Sorry I was talking venue there, not city.
        • 7 Years Ago
        "Think of the Super Bowl, they always book it in the stadiums that are showcases, not the old rundown places."

        Um, the Super Bowl was in Detroit last year at the new Ford Field that is next to the not much older Comerica Park that had last years All Star game.
      • 7 Years Ago
      NYC is a silly show- no one drives in NY.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Detroit is not the center of car world and hasn’t been for years. Where are your population centers in the US? The Coasts. Porsche is right to pull out of Detroit as I’m sure it sells more in Cali and Florida than it does anywhere else. And really who wants to go to Detroit in the middle of winter?
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