A Detroit Auto Show Review
by Joe Melnick, MSE Detroit Treasurer
You may have heard or read that the recent North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) was “not your father’s auto show.” That observation reflects that in addition to moving the show from January to September, technology changes impacting the industry have occurred, including fewer exhibits and fewer automotive manufacturers participating. The new NAIAS reflects new thinking about auto shows and the industry, all within the context of the industry and the world emerging on the other side of a global pandemic.
The look and feel of this year’s show reflects a much stronger orientation to the consumer experience and celebration of an industry going through its most significant pivot since the industry formed over a century ago. Replacing the glitz and glamor of companies trying to one-up each other with new product introductions, there were hands-on product experiences with exhibits such as Ford and Jeep. There were also previews of what products will look like in an electric future. And there were dinosaurs and a two-story high rubber duck.
One commentator likened the event to a regional auto show away from a global event of the past. But that simply reflects the orientation and emphasis on engaging consumers and their families in new products in an entertaining way. In addition, the presentation of many exciting new technologies that will appeal to whole new generations of consumers and potential workers was focused on engaging them in one of the largest and most important industries in the world.
The concept of auto shows of the past was already changing, and this year was one of reinvention and new thinking. The entire world has changed dramatically over the past few years, and this is a first step for the mobility industry. Dates for 2023 have already been set: September 13 - 23. Time to embrace and celebrate the future!