Detroit car dealers target Sept. 14-25 for 2022 auto show
After a years-long COVID-19 pandemic-induced hiatus, the Detroit Auto Dealers Association is targeting Sept.14-25, 2022, to revive the North American International Auto Show, Doug North, the DADA's chairman emeritus of events, told The Detroit News Tuesday.
The news came hours before the state legislature approved a spending bill Tuesday night that includes a one-time grant of $9 million for the auto show. The outlay is a part of a $841 million appropriations bill that relies heavily on federal relief money. It also includes funding for COVID-19 testing and screening at schools, emergency rental services, teaching recruitment and environmental threats.
"Given the difficulties that our show and local communities have had over the last few years ... as well as significant financial impact of planning for a show then canceling a show, then planning for another show and canceling another show, it became clear that it would really be great if we had additional support from the state," North said.
The last downtown Detroit auto show took place in January 2019. The show was expected to come back in June 2020, but organizers canceled it because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Concerns about hosting a large indoor event during the pandemic pushed event organizers to cancel the 2021 show too. Instead, this summer a downtown concert and car crawl was held to raise money for charities, and in September organizers hosted the Motor Bella auto mobility event at M1 Concourse in Pontiac.
"We would love to get back downtown next year. That's what the plan is," North said. "Given sort of the state of the world, of auto shows, (the state grant) would be a really great way to help us get the show going to make sure that it's the kind of show that Detroiters are used to seeing and want to see and wouldn't necessarily rely on strictly a huge attendance and/or sponsorship support and it will allow us to present Detroit ... in really a great way."
Organizers are looking at using Huntington Place, the former TCF Center downtown, for the event, in addition to outdoor venues. In the past, the auto show was estimated to generate roughly $400 million in economic activity each year for Metro Detroit.
"The assets we have downtown with Huntington Place, with the parks, with the riverfront, I mean it's phenomenal," North said. "And to be able to show it off in a way that also celebrates ... our involvement with the automobile business and its history, we couldn't think of a better way to do it."
The association would also like to bring back Motor Bella, but North couldn't specify the location for the event or the dates.
Staff writers Breana Noble and Craig Mauger contributed.