DETROIT—The North American International Auto Show redrew its contract with Cobo Center as it gears up to switch from winter to summer in 2020.
The season change from winter to summer made a change in the auto show's contract with the downtown Detroit venue necessary, said Rod Alberts, executive director of the show and the entity that puts it on, the Detroit Auto Dealers Association.
The $7 million, seven-year deal through 2026 replaces an eight-year, approximately $11.8 million contract that had been signed in summer 2017 to last through 2025, said Claude Molinari, general manager of Cobo Center.
The auto show also announced official 2020 dates for June 6-20. The 2019 auto show will still take place in January, with the Gallery kickoff event Jan. 12 and the public show Jan. 19-27.
The auto show's continued partnership with Cobo comes as auto maker and supplier needs fuel a transformation in the show's look and feel. In June 2020, Detroit's outdoors will play a much bigger role. Companies want to showcase new technologies outside such as autonomous vehicles and ride-sharing apps, and get audiences more comfortable with them through hands-on experiences.
The summer show also is expected to drive down costs for auto makers by reducing the amount of time they have to erect displays and move in products to around three weeks.
Halving the move-in time, which previously was about six to seven weeks, reduces the show's rent, too, Molinari and Alberts said. The new contract is lower per year ($1 million) than the previous one (approximately $1.475 million).
But "the cost per day has increased," Molinari said. "The time of year is more premium than January."
The 2020 dates are:
- The Gallery: June 6
- Media preview: June 9-10
- Industry preview: June 10-11
- AutoMobili-D: June 9-11
- Charity preview: June 12
- Public show: June 13-20
The move to June also is designed to consolidate auto makers' product reveals back into the show itself. In recent years, many have chosen off-site locations to unveil new products, seeking to maximize coverage without competing with other companies' products.
Mercedes, BMW and Audi announced earlier this year they would skip the 2019 Detroit auto show as auto makers rethink marketing strategies.
This upcoming show also will be the last time NAIAS runs back-to-back with the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, which is drawing some 45 Michigan-based companies this year, including Ford Motor Co.
The summer version of NAIAS could potentially include outdoor installations in areas such as Cobo Center's roof, Hart Plaza, Campus Martius and other locales near the riverfront.
Molinari said the use of Cobo's roof isn't in the contract but he's up for discussing it.
The show is in talks with the city of Detroit to use Hart Plaza, just east of Cobo Center, Alberts said.
"I think what you're gonna find in the long run ... is that we'll spill out as we grow the event," he said.
Cobo, which opened in 1960, has hosted the NAIAS since 1965.