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Detroit auto show will open with street festival in June

Kalea Hall
The Detroit News

Detroit — A street festival celebrating Italian and British car culture will be part of the run-up to the first-ever North American International Auto Show to be held in June.

The Motor Bella European festival will take place June 5-8 on Broadway next to the Detroit Opera House and will feature more than 100 Italian and British vehicles representing 12 brands, including Ferrari and Rolls-Royce. The vehicles will be provided by automakers, dealers and car clubs.

NAIAS Chairman Doug North updates the progress of the upcoming first summer time auto show during a press conference at the TCF Center in Detroit, Michigan on January 13, 2020.

Ferrari will bring a lineup of cars for its own event in Parker's Alley. 

More: The vehicles of the year named at TCF Center

Detroit's auto show was moved from January to June in an effort to reinvent the show, which had seen a decline in both global automaker showings and guests. The show is open to the public June 13-20. Media preview days are June 9-10. The Charity Preview is June 12. The Gallery, an invitation-only event featuring ultra-luxury vehicles taking place June 7, will move from MGM Grand and will be held outdoors as a Motor Bella event.

Ferrari will bring its cars for an outdoor festival of European vehicles to be held in the run-up to the Detroit auto show.

With the move to summer, the show will have big outdoor debuts, test rides, demonstrations of robotic cars and off-road events at the TCF Center (formerly Cobo) and Hart Plaza. Cars will "drift" on the rooftop of the convention center.

Manufacturers to date have committed to debuting 20 vehicles at the show.

“There will be experiences inside and outside," 2020 NAIAS Chairman Doug North said. "You’ll smell tires burn, ride rugged terrain, and experience electric and autonomous vehicles on Detroit’s waterfront.” 

Hosting the show in June opened up the auto show to "a whole host possibilities" like the Motor Bella festival, North said. He expects to release more news about what's to come at the June auto show in coming months.

Auto show officials announced in December that the annual Charity Preview will have both a traditional black-tie event inside the convention center and a less-expensive outdoor-access ticket that has a "summer-chic" dress code. All-access tickets are $400 each or $750 per pair. Tickets for the outdoor event are $200 each.

The 2019 Detroit auto show had 774,179 guests, 35,000 fewer visitors than the show drew in 2018, in part because a major snowstorm fell on the first Saturday of the public show.

Attendance from automakers has fallen in the past few years as they increasingly seek out less expensive, more direct ways to debut their vehicles. In 2018, several European luxury automakers, including Audi,  Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Porsche, said they would no longer attend the Detroit show.

During press and industry preview days June 8-11, Dataspeed Inc. and FEV North America Inc. will provide shuttle service in self-driving vehicles from Detroit Metropolitan Airport to downtown Detroit as part of the NAIAS 2020 Michigan Mobility Challenge.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's office announced the NAIAS 2020 Michigan Mobility Challenge and requested proposals from companies wanting to "demonstrate the potential of connected and automated vehicles to transform how visitors and residents will move" during the show. The announcement builds on Whitmer’s October announcement that there will be five highly automated vehicle providers for downtown Detroit routes during the show.

khall@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @bykaleahall

Staff writer Henry Payne contributed.