• Dec 23, 2008
Automakers have been fleeing the Detroit Auto Show in droves over the last few months. Porsche, citing slow sales in metro Detroit, was the first to announce it was pulling out of the NAIAS, but Suzuki, Mitsubishi, Ferrari, Land Rover and Rolls-Royce all followed suit shortly thereafter. While much of the blame can be placed squarely on the broad shoulders of the global economic meltdown, organizers of the event also point to the quickly deteriorating conditions at Cobo Hall and the lack of available space when compared to such venues as the Chicago Auto Show.

Even if they can't fix the economy, the U.S. Michigan Senate has stepped in to fix Cobo. A total of 166,000 square-feet of space will be added to the 700,000 that is already present. NAIAS officials are hopeful that this added room, along with a general tidying up of the joint, will bring those manufacturers back and keep any others from leaving after '09. To reach a deal, a five-member board will oversee Cobo Hall, including the governor of Michigan and representatives from Detroit and Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties. We're sure negotiations will go just swimmingly from here on forward.

[Source: Detroit News]


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  • 21 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      This is just smart. During bad economic times the it will be cheaper to do a big construction job like this. They will have a couple of years of slack time to get things done and ready just in time for the economy to pick back up in about two years time. By then there will be enough built up demand that the new car market will be exploding and car makers will be back to wanting to put on a show. It looks like Ford will be a part of that party. Here's hoping GM and Chrysler make it there too.
      • 6 Years Ago
      The Chinese automakers will fill the extra space. Even if they are years away from selling cars in the US, they will put on a better show each year.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Deteriorating? Cobo is in better shape than 90% of Detroit. Honestly, that's the last thing they need to be spending money on. I was just at Cobo a few months ago and it's just fine. It's a waste of taxpayer money to be expanding it at a time when there are clearly better uses for the money.
        • 6 Years Ago
        A big thing about expanding Cobo is for more than just the auto show, a lot of conventions won't even consider Detroit because Cobo simply isn't big enough for their needs. With all the new hotel rooms downtown, they need a use for them. Bigger Cobo = more conventions = more money.
      • 6 Years Ago
      In spite of the automakers who pulled out, there was sufficient demand for display space at the '09 NAIAS that there actually are more total exhibitors at the show than last year. Admittedly that includes BYD and Brilliance from China and some lower rent displays in the downstairs hall, but there will be more world premieres this year than last.

      Also, of interest to car guys and gals, Lotus is reported to have a factory/importer display for the first time @ Detroit and Tesla will have a booth as well with their electric Roadster. Tesla CEO Elon Musk will be at the show and will be speaking at the Society of Automotive Analysts event on the 13th. The Bugatti Veyron will also make its first appearance at the NAIAS this year as well.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Here's the original story from the co-chairman of the NAIAS. I've been trying to get confirmation from Lotus Cars USA but their offices have been closed this week for the holiday and so far, no response from the question I submitted to Hethel.

        http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20081219/AUTO04/812190340/1148/AUTO01

        There's a piece I wrote about the NAIAS expansion and new exhibitors on TTAC and a slightly different, expanded version on my own site, www.motorobilia.com
      • 6 Years Ago
      Autoblog, please double check out which body the article is referring to. It is the Michigan state Senate, not the U.S. Senate. I just about had an aneurysm.
        • 6 Years Ago
        OK...you have issues if you get aneurysms over that.
        Anyway, I find it ironic that just when people complain about lack of space and the expansion gets approved, automakers drop out of the show.
        • 6 Years Ago
        They dropped out prior to the approval of the expansion.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I'm with you cdwrx... I read that and my eyes went wide while I mouthed 'what the f*ck'. Not that we would have been consulted on this decision by the senate anyway, but I was surprised to not have at least heard of it. All is well though, just a editing mistake.
      • 6 Years Ago
      That should be the Michigan senate, not the US senate.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I say Cobo ends up as a casino in a year since that's the only thing in MIchigan that makes money ;-)
        • 6 Years Ago
        I don't blame imports for fleeing Detroit.

        The citizens of Detroit will come to the auto show and vandalize the import cars on display.
      • 6 Years Ago

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