Cobo Center will continue to host the North American International Auto Show through 2025 with the signing of a new eight-year contract.
The Detroit auto show is one of Detroit’s key annual events, bringing in visitors from around the globe and boosting local revenues during its two-week run each January. Long-time home Cobo Center has undergone a $279 million renovation in recent years to better accommodate the event.
“The future is very bright for Cobo Center, and we are thrilled to have the NAIAS here for years to come,” Claude Molinari, the center’s general manager, said in a press release. “
Cobo officials entered into their current five-year contract with NAIAS in 2012. But keeping the auto show in downtown Detroit has not always been a slam-dunk.
Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson enraged Detroiters in 2009 when he unsuccessfully tried to coax the auto show to relocate to Novi.
The Detroit Regional Convention Facility Authority has operational control of Cobo Center. Formed in 2009, its members are appointed by the governor, mayor of Detroit, plus the county executives from Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties.
After major-league politicking, then-Detroit Mayor Dave Bing finally won over the council to the creation of the authority, especially after he noted that it cost the cash-starved city $15 million a year just to maintain Cobo Center, a cost which was picked up by the DRCFA.
Rod Alberts, executive director of NAIAS, said in the press release: “The significant renovation has allowed the auto show to expand our footprint and has provided us with the perfect facility to host thousands of international journalists, industry executives and over 800,000 public show attendees.”