Detroit — You won’t find Fiat Chrysler Automobiles in its usual spot at 13 Mile and Woodward during this year’s 2017 Dream Cruise.
Construction at the old Northwood Shopping Center site means the automaker will not host a display at the location as it has over the past 15 years. Property owner Beaumont Hospital is redeveloping the lot at the intersection’s southwest corner and has discussed the possibility of building a hotel there.
“It’s a logistics issue,” said FCA spokeswoman Eileen Wunderlich. “Our longtime location is under construction and is just not usable.
“Our team investigated other locations but could not come up with anything suitable.”
FCA joins Chevrolet as a big name with a diminished role in this year’s Dream Cruise. Earlier this month Chevrolet officials confirmed the automaker would not continue as a presenting sponsor after six years in the role.
“We evaluate our sponsorships on a regular basis and make adjustments to our strategy based on our business needs,” a Chevrolet spokeswoman said in an email to The Detroit News earlier this month. “While we are no longer the sponsor, we still see great value in engaging with Chevy fans, so we will continue to have our displays in Birmingham and Royal Oak to showcase our products and celebrate the summer tradition of cruising along Woodward Avenue.”
Dream Cruise officials have not announced a replacement presenting sponsor yet.
Despite the loss of FCA’s usual home base, it will still have a presence ahead of the Aug. 19 Dream Cruise. The program Roadkill Nights Powered by Dodge returns for its second year in Pontiac and will feature plenty of the automaker’s products. A week before the cruise, the drag-racing festival will occupy the M1 Concourse from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Aug. 12. Last year, the first Roadkill Nights was held the day before the cruise and drew an estimated 30,000 visitors.
Owned and operated by the Enthusiast Network, the event is billed as “bringing back legal street drag-racing on Woodward Avenue.” There will be Dodge Thrill Rides in the 707-horsepower Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat and Charger SRT Hellcat and the 645-horse Dodge Viper. Fans will also get to see the new 840-horsepower 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon on the dragstrip and “drive” it via a high-octane drag racing simulation experience.”
FCA officials want the program to serve as a lead-in to the week. “We want to make it bigger and better this year and help kick off the Dream Cruise,” Wunderlich said.