Detroit has hosted an auto show for over a century. For the
first several decades of its existence, however, the show's focus
was strictly regional. Then, in 1987, a visionary group of auto
dealers within the Detroit Auto Dealers Association (DADA) asked a
bold question: Why not make the event truly international in scope?
Achieving this objective within only a few years' time, the North
American International Auto Show (NAIAS) pursues a vision of
continually redefining what it means to be an indispensable
international event. To achieve this goal, the NAIAS continually
introduces bold new ways to enhance attendees' experiences and
deliver exceptional value to media, industry and the public.
NAIAS 2013 was a true celebration of the automobile and a
demonstration of the strength and resiliency of the auto business.
Nowhere was that more clearly seen than on the show floor where
manufacturers unveiled over 60 of their most spectacular new
vehicles, showcasing them before a global audience of some of the
world's most influential media and the all-important car-buying
public. The show was a true reflection of a strong, vibrant and
more confident industry. International media numbers were up,
Industry Preview saw more attendees, Charity Preview raised 30
percent more than the 2012 event and total ticketed attendance was
the highest since 2004. NAIAS 2013 was a two-week celebration of
cars, technology and industry confidence. What a great prelude to
the celebration of the 25th anniversary of the NAIAS coming up next
After a spectacular nine day run, the North American
International Auto Show (NAIAS) 2012 is in the books.
Bill Perkins, chairman, NAIAS, said the show lived up to its
reputation of being one of the top in the world.
"From the press to the public, everyone realized that this was a
very special show," said Perkins. "People want to feel good again
about the industry, which is now obviously in a better place than
it was a few years ago. As a result, this year's show was a
'must-see' event, as the attendance numbers indicate," he said.
"Everything that could go right…did."
Jim Seavitt, NAIAS 2012 vice chairman (and incoming chairman of
NAIAS 2013) said the overwhelming feeling of automaker confidence,
which was demonstrated in the more than 40 product unveilings and
in the new exhibits, helped to create a positive environment at the
"NAIAS is positioned along with shows in Geneva, Frankfurt,
Paris, Beijing and Tokyo because of the number of journalists who
attend, and the number of worldwide product unveilings we host,"
said Seavitt. "We are traditionally very strong in both categories,
which is why NAIAS remains an important part of the automakers'
global product launch strategies."
"The NAIAS 2011 validated all promises made by exhibitors
in 2009 and 2010 as the product pipeline is full and vibrant,"
said NAIAS 2011 Chairman, Barron Meade. "The ability to rise
up from the difficult economic times of the recent past in glowing
fashion indicates a positive ripple effect for our local, national
and global economies. NAIAS is again proud to kick off a new year
by providing a global stage for so many to be spotlighted."
Meade also noted the economic impact for the region saw another
boost as it is estimated between $350 and $375 million was funneled
into the local economy from visitors to NAIAS in the form of
hotels, transportation, catering and entertainment, a more than $25
million improvement over the NAIAS 2010.
This year saw the return of Porsche and the announcement that
Nissan will be returning in 2012. In addition, while the press
conference schedule provided an unprecedented amount of news and
coverage, NAIAS leadership is listening to its customers: the
manufacturers, the auto suppliers, and the media, and is already
planning a two-day 2012 press conference schedule which will best
accommodate anticipated news as well as the likelihood of more
Bill Perkins, NAIAS 2012 Chairman, indicated the recent
show has set a strong foundation for the next, and that exciting
updates about the 2012 show will be provided throughout the coming
"What sets NAIAS apart and keeps it a global draw from so many
influential audiences is its commitment to not rest on its laurels,
but to keep building, striving and adapting," Perkins said. "The
work and updates we are hearing from Cobo Center management as to
what is planned for Cobo Center for the 2012 show will have people
awed and amazed. This was an outstanding year, but I already can't
wait for what is around the corner for NAIAS 2012."
The NAIAS 2010 took on the global economic challenges to do what
Detroiters have always done: endure, excel and exceed expectation.
The NAIAS committee was proud to once again host this world-class
event for thousands of top media and industry executives and
enthusiasts who are attracted by newsworthy and exciting production
and concept vehicle debuts.
NAIAS 2010 showcased nearly 40 total vehicle unveilings before
nearly 5,000 international media from more than 60 countries, along
with a host of government officials such as Speaker of the House
Nancy Pelosi and Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood. In
addition, more than $2 million was raised for children's charities
at the annual black-tie Charity Preview. The gala featured
entertainment by Detroit's own band, The Romantics, and four
impromptu flash dance performances, as an added surprise. The NAIAS
2010 also welcomed nearly 715,000 attendees, up from 650,000
estimated attendees at the 2009 show.
New features like Electric Avenue, presented by The Dow Chemical
Company, dovetailed perfectly with the return of an expanded
Michigan Economic Development Corporation EcoXperience to
underscore the automotive industry's commitment to alternative fuel
Almost 7,000 guests attended the 2009 Charity Preview, raising
over $2.6 million for Detroit-area childrens' charities. Attendees
enjoyed a sneak peak at the world-class NAIAS and a special
performance by the Doobie Brothers.
The future of electric vehicles was displayed at the
EcoXperience, sponsored by the Michigan Economic Development
Corporation (MEDC) allowing attendees to ride in the latest hybrid
and electric vehicles on a track covering 70,000 square feet of
floor space at Cobo Center. Spotlighting the global automotive
industry's progress in making alternative propulsion technology a
reality, the EcoXperience displayed ride production and
concept vehicles alike featuring state-of-the-art hybrid and
NAIAS 2008 welcomed more than 700,000 attendees, over 6,000
international media from 63 countries along with a host of
celebrities, and drew more than 37,000 industry insiders from 2,000
Every year, the NAIAS welcomes more events, celebrity appearances
and other attractions. The NAIAS is positioned well to draw
top media, industry executives and production/concept vehicle
debuts. In 2008, 44 worldwide production and concept vehicles
were unveiled as well as 14 North American productions and
According to Edmunds.com, the NAIAS website (naias.com) was ranked
#7 by Yahoo! as one of the most visited websites and was featured
as the lead story of the day.
'The Gallery' showcase, an NAIAS original and in its inaugural
year, was a tremendous success as auto collectors from all over the
globe converged on Cobo Center for a sneak-peak of the elite brands
of the NAIAS including Maserati, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Rolls-Royce,
Bentley and Maybach.
Charity Preview was a sold-out affair with 15,000 guests, raising
$6 million for 12 children's charities. The Barenaked Ladies
performance, in Cobo Arena after the Charity Preview gala, was an
The Cobo Center expansion is a complex issue for the region.
Show management remains confident that regional cooperation can
happen, and Cobo Center can be expanded and improved.
Entering its 20th year as an international event, the North
American International Auto Show is ranked among the most
prestigious auto shows in the world and is one of the largest media
events in North America. The NAIAS is the only auto show in
the United States to earn an annual distinguished sanction of the
Organisation Internationale des Constructeurs d'Automobiles, the
Paris-based alliance of automotive trade associations and
manufacturers from around the world. Don't Miss It for the
NAIAS 2007 celebrated the centennial of the Detroit Auto Dealers
Association's (DADA) successful association with the North American
International Auto Show (NAIAS). Since its inception in 1907,
the show has grown from a regional event featuring 17 exhibitors to
an internationally-sanctioned show with over 90 exhibitors that has
added more than $500 million to the metro Detroit region last year
alone. Visit the 2007 photo gallery to see some of the
vehicles unveiled at NAIAS 2007.
Changfeng Motor was the first Chinese auto manufacturer to exhibit
from Preview Week through Public Show.
Another first... At a special ceremony, the U.S. Postal Service
unveiled a limited-edition cachet envelope and postmark that
celebrates the 100th anniversary. The postmark and envelope
were available during the NAIAS at a temporary post office set up
at Cobo Center by the United States Postal Service.
At the 2007 show the NAIAS debuted an enhanced digital newsroom
providing extended coverage of the show to assist journalists from
both traditional and internet media outlets. The digital
newsroom featured daily highlights and recaps of the show,
including NAIAS press releases integrated with broadcast quality,
downloadable video as well as high resolution photography.
NAIAS marked the first year the MSN Autos web page was translated
into six languages and published in 10 MSN international markets
including France, Germany, UK, Italy and Spain reaching millions of
media and car enthusiasts worldwide.
For the third straight year, NBC Sports featured its one-of-a kind,
two-hour broadcast on the incredible designs and technology
unveiled at the NAIAS 2007.
NAIAS - A Celebration of the Industry:
Celebrating its 20th year as an international show, the NAIAS is
one of the longest running auto shows in the country. We are
proud of the stature and recognition the show has received and it
is truly an honor to be ranked among the premier international auto
shows of the world - Frankfurt, Geneva, Paris and Tokyo.
The NAIAS continues to be one of the world's top international auto
shows, and its increased global presence is starting to draw show
goers from outside the Detroit region. We look forward to
continuing to make NAIAS a fun destination for families and a great
venue for manufacturers to launch world-class vehicles.
The NAIAS 2006 saw the introduction of 70 new vehicles
including Geely, the first Chinese manufacturer to ever display in
the United States. The NAIAS is a showcase for the world's
vehicle introductions and has ushered in the debut of 994 total
vehicles introductions since 1989.
The NAIAS 2006 attracted 6,647 media from 62 countries on six
continents, over 30% of whom were represented by the international
press. In contrast, 850 journalists, 60 of whom were
international, attended the 1989 NAIAS.
The event has grown steadily and broadened its reach beyond the
automotive supplier industry. Its universal appeal is that it
offers automotive suppliers and others who support the industry the
exclusive opportunity to preview the show before it opens to the
While the spotlight at the NAIAS is on the vehicles on display,
another major component of the show for more than 20 years has been
the Charity Preview.
This black tie gala, held on the evening before the show officially
opens to the public, has become one of the largest single-night
fundraisers in the world. NAIAS has raised more than $65
million for children's charities since the inception of the Charity
Preview in 1976.
In 2006 the Specialty Vehicle Showcase continued to grow adding a
new dimension to the show. The 20,000-square foot specialty
display included a select group of OEMs showcasing the latest in
niche vehicles and the hot, new trend in vehicle customization and
NAIAS 2003 final attendance (810,699) eclipsed the previous show’s high of 802,301, set in 2000.
In addition to Public Days and Charity Preview attendees, the show attracted nearly 28,000 people from 1,800 companies to Industry Preview Days and more than 6,600 journalists to Press Preview Days. Nearly 40 percent of media attendees were from outside the United States.
The General Motors Corporation exhibit integrated corporate identity under the G.M. umbrella.
A hotel room reservation program was established to assist NAIAS visitors.
A shuttle service was established, providing transportation to visitors between designated hotels in the metropolitan area and Cobo Center, as well as an intra-hotel shuttle service between downtown hotels and Cobo Center.
MSN CarPoint, Microsoft Corporation’s automotive website, began serving as the official web site for NAIAS, providing up-to-the minute coverage of the show’s press conferences and automobile industry events.
A contract was negotiated with a WXYZ-TV/Channel 7, nationally syndicated, local television station (the official broadcast station for NAIAS). This partnership increased exposure overall, and specifically on nationally televised programs.
The Van Show was eliminated in Michigan Hall, an extension to the main show floor, in order to offer more redesigned and enhanced exhibit space for manufacturers. Michigan Hall was opened during Press Week to provide media exposure to new exhibitors.
TIME Magazine, a major publication in North America, established a Time Quality Dealer Award (TMQDA) program throughout the United States, providing NAIAS with significant exposure in their publication. TIME Magazine provided the opportunity for TMQDA recipients to attend the show and also hosted a reception for them at the Charity Preview.
One of the first items on the agenda was the name of the
show. In 1989, it became the North American International
Auto Show (NAIAS).
The first NAIAS committee, consisting of two co-chairmen, an
international advisor and committee members, accepted the task to
elevate the Detroit Show to the level of an international
The NAIAS committee observed that pressrooms at international shows
were not conducive to effective media relations. Michelin
initiated discussions with NAIAS leadership and an agreement was
reached. Michelin brought in a dozen professionals from New
York City to set up a media center at NAIAS, complete with
telephone, video and computer facilities. The first NAIAS
press facilities measured 12,000 sq. ft. (1,100 sq. m.) and served
1,200 press attendees. The facility has since doubled in size
and media attendance has increased five-fold.
The NAIAS committee recommended annual visits to the international
shows, as well as to import manufacturers in California and New
Other key industry events began to lend their support to the
NAIAS. Automotive News World Congress rescheduled their event
to coincide with NAIAS. The Society of Automotive Analysts
began holding an "Outlook Conference" during press days at
The Automotive Press Association/Detroit Auto Dealers Association
established a reception toasting international media on Monday
night of Press Days.
850 journalists, 60 of whom were international, attended
the NAIAS 1989.
Ongoing discussions with exhibitors resulted in the creation of many versions of the floor plan as the auto show committee (comprised of new car dealer members of the Detroit Auto Dealers Association) worked toward accommodating each exhibitor’s needs while, at the same time, creating a final floor plan that provided a level, global playing field with equitable representation for every exhibitor.
At the 1988 Frankfurt show, a dealer team met with a dozen high-ranking BMW representatives. The German executives sought precise details of the NAIAS plans and then promised a spectacular Detroit presence.
Manufacturers’ square footage allotments and space allocations are based on a number of considerations, including sales in the U.S. marketplace, new products and introductions committed to Auto Show (currently and historically).
When Detroit Auto Show management learned that Cobo Hall was in the process of a major expansion to double its size, they decided to expand the show, a decision that received virtually unanimous support from dealer members of the Detroit Auto Dealers Association.
What began as a program to compete with the top domestic offerings -- Chicago, Los Angeles and New York – emerged as a full-fledged international event capable of matching and even surpassing any auto event on the globe.
Several dealer teams were formed to visit the global giants of the auto show world – Frankfurt, Geneva, Paris and Tokyo. A video promoting the Detroit show as an international event was prepared and presented as a promotional tool at all meetings with the manufacturers. The first stop was General Motors Corporation and a meeting with Chairman Roger Smith and President Robert Stempel. They were very supportive. The dealer teams also went to Ford Motor Company and Chrysler Corporation, enlisting their support.
A critical key for international recognition was the attendance of foreign media, as well as a horde of domestic auto and business writers. Toyota’s new Lexus was six months away from public introduction in late 1988. A Detroit debut guaranteed that the Japanese media would arrive en masse. Toyota and Lexus Division welcomed the idea and the spotlight on their products in the hometown headquarters of the domestic industry. Nissan was also about to introduce its own luxury line, Infiniti. Nissan quickly gave their blessing to a Detroit unveiling. Commitments were also received from Hyundai, American Isuzu, American Honda & Acura Division, and Mitsubishi.
Meetings were held with the city of Detroit’s administration to discuss requirements for enhancing the city’s monorail system and parking accommodations during the public show.
The first year international auto manufacturers displayed their vehicles at the Detroit Auto Show, Domestic models from the Big Three now shared floor space with Volvo, German Isetta, Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar and Porsche.
The first Detroit Area Dealer Association (DADA)-managed Detroit Auto Show was held in December 1907, at Riverview Park after the formation of the DADA in the same year. Since then, the show has grown from a regional event with 17 exhibitors to a world-class showcase featuring more than 60 exhibitors.
As the years passed, the show became increasingly popular as the demand and interest for automobiles grew. The show grew and moved to several new locations, including the Light Guard Armory on Eight Mile, the Wayne Gardens Pavilion and the Michigan State Fairgrounds.