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The Detroit auto show will be held in January for the last time — and Ford Motor Co. Executive Chairman Bill Ford will close the preview days there at a public event called "The Final Word."

The event, to be held in the lower level atrium of Cobo Center, is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. Jan. 17. It is free, open to the public and press credentials are not required to attend.

It's the end of an era for the 30-year-old North American International Auto Show, which will take a short hiatus as it moves to June 2020. The show is changing as global automakers, including Ford, ready for sweeping transformations of their global business models, product lineups, manufacturing operations and headcounts. 

More: Ford to cut jobs, idle plants, change lineup in Europe

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Bill Ford will sit down with Daniel Howes, columnist and associate business editor of The Detroit News, for a wide-ranging, fireside-style chat expected to touch on the rapidly changing automotive industry and the new technology expected to reshape roadways and manufacturing.

The two likely will discuss Bill Ford's decision to invest in a Corktown campus anchored by a rejuvenated Michigan Central Depot that will house the automaker's electrification and autonomy teams, an on-going global restructuring at Ford, and the changes coming to the Detroit auto show when it moves to June in 2020.

Get full auto show coverage

ithibodeau@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @Ian_Thibodeau

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