While the schedule of events likely won't change too drastically from that of the January show, there are quite a number of other changes in the works. Among those that will be most visible to attendees will be the selection of outdoor exhibits. As we expected, the organizers suggest an array from simple displays to driving experiences. The latter are envisioned on the roof of Cobo Hall and in front of the building. These exhibits could extend throughout downtown Detroit and potentially appear on Belle Isle, as the show will happen after the Detroit Grand Prix rather than coincide as had been rumored.
The organizers are certainly hoping automakers think big, saying in the press release the outdoor opportunities present "a canvas of unlimited brand activation and engagement opportunities — a canvas only limited by exhibitor creativity and imagination." Though further in the announcement, it's revealed there is another limit: time. Apparently exhibitors will have three weeks instead of a claimed average of eight to set up before the show begins. This is touted as a cost-savings move to encourage simpler, easier-to-construct displays, as well as reducing the number of days to pay for moving and contractors. Another cost-saving aspect of the summer move is dodging holidays for which automakers have to pay overtime.
Outside of cars, Detroit Auto Show organizers hint at additional entertainment for the event. Renderings show an outdoor stage for live music and other entertainment. There also looks to be an area for food trucks and even a skate park. All of this certainly seems like it should make the show much more appealing on public days.
Since the move to June isn't happening until 2020, that means the 2019 Detroit Auto Show will once again be in chilly, snowy January. You can safely assume there won't be much excitement outside the building for that event.