Editor’s note: Keep auto show in January
Admittedly, January is not Detroit’s finest month.
It can be bitterly cold, often slushy and sometimes snowed under, and in general gray and blah.
But at least we have the auto show.
Maybe not for much longer, however. Organizers of the North American International Auto Show are entertaining proposals to move the show into a more appealing month. Maybe June, but more likely October.
The hope is to showcase Detroit at its best to the thousands of international visitors who come to Cobo Center for the two-week event.
October is hard to beat in Michigan. And moving the auto show up by three months would get it well out of the way of the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, also in January, and which has begun to steal both Detroit’s thunder and many of its automotive product reveals.
General Motors Co., sponsor of the Detroit Grand Prix on Belle Isle, is pitching the move to June, where the auto show would be part of a broader automotive festival that would include the race and other themed events.
Both ideas are intriguing.
But I say leave it in January. For those of us who are stuck here slogging through the city’s miserably long winters, the NAIAS provides a break in the dreary landscape.
In June and October, there is plenty to do around here. They are perfect months to be outdoors.
But in January, the options are fairly limited. It’s the show or, well, not much.
That gives the NAIAS what amounts to a captive audience, and the crowds that top 800,000 is a testament to its successful positioning.
Up against the distractions of the summer and fall months, my bet is attendance would fall off.
I know the out-of-town press grumbles about coming to Detroit in January. But they keep coming. And although some foreign automakers are bailing out, it still makes sense for them to display their wares in Detroit, no matter what the month. They’ve left before and always return.
So keep the auto show where it is. We need the winter respite.
Catch The Nolan Finley Show weekdays 7-9 a.m. on 910 AM Superstation.