The North American International Auto Show has been a January tradition for decades but it appears the show’s organizers are considering a switch to October.
According to Crain’s Detroit, auto show officials have been considering the idea for more than a year and have been in talks with automakers, suppliers and city officials. No decision has been made at this point but even if everyone can agree to an October switch, it reportedly would not happen until 2020.
Officials believe moving the show to October would bring several benefits including giving automakers the opportunity to showcase new products and technologies – such as autonomous driving systems – outside the confines of Cobo Hall. The average high temperature in Detroit in January is a chilly 32° F (0° C) while October temps are much more subtle for outdoor exhibits as the average high is 60° F (15.5° C) according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
The switch to October would also help distance the Detroit Auto Show from the Consumer Electrics Show which also takes place in January. It has grown in importance over the past few years and a number of automakers have used CES to introduce models such as the Chrysler Portal concept.
While this sounds like a win-win situation, there are still a number of downsides. Moving the show to October would put it right behind the massive Frankfurt and Paris motor shows which trade off every September. The show would also come shortly ahead of the Los Angeles Auto Show which usually kicks off in late November.
Besides having to play second fiddle to the Frankfurt and Paris juggernauts, an October move would require the North American International Auto Show to renegotiate its contract with Cobo Hall as the current agreement runs through 2025.