Is This The Last "International" Detroit Auto Show?

Illustration for article titled Is This The Last International Detroit Auto Show?

We kind of feel auto shows in North American are moving away from international "reveal" type shows and back to what they started as. Could next week’s be the last truly "international" Detroit Auto Show?


Cars show started as regional showcases intended to put new products in front of customers. They were run by dealers, sort of as flashy pop up showrooms, not big media events with the international unveiling of new products. Now, with just about every new car either leaking or being officially unveiled ahead of time, drastically slashed marketing budgets and a general reduction of interest in dry ice and lasers, big auto shows are losing their appeal. Neither Porsche nor Nissan will attend next week’s show. Honda isn’t doing an official unveiling. Could this be the end?

No. While we can clearly see things trending in that direction, we don’t think this will be the last time manufacturers unveil major new products in Detroit. Call it a gut feeling, call it an industry rooted in tradition, or a reluctance to change. But this won’t be the last time Ray makes us all fly to Detroit in January.


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Rob Emslie

Oh Hellz No.

This is Detroit. The "Motor City," hello? There is an infrastructure here, a pool of talent, and a deeply depressed economy that is just itching for no-interest loans and government stimulation packages just to keep the residents from rioting in the streets and eating the children of the wealthy, Lexus-driving Dearborn elite.

Even if Chrysler morphs from third-largest American auto manufacturer to Publisher's Clearing House calling center and Billy Mays empire fulfillment house.

Even if Ford becomes a boutique maker of models that evoke its storied past like the Mustang Classic and the T-birdscort or the Mazda2-based F150 trim package consisting of "lariat" embroidered seat covers and "pissing calvin" stickers.

Even if GM sucks our government coffers dry like leeches on a water buffalo, causing the end of civilization as we know it.

Even if all these expectations come to pass, it is still Detroit and somebody will come there, search the horizon, nod his head, and will say "this looks like a good spot to build cars."

Whether they be Toyota, or Geely, or Tata or whatever, they will build them here.

They will do so because there are people here who know how to torque a lugnut using only an air ratchet.

There are people here who know how to slide a IP into body shell while it's moving at a 30 feet per minute down the line.

There are people here who understand that the difference between building cars and living in them is having a job, and will be willing to work for Hitler Automotive Group (HAG) should one be offered.

Detroit has those people. Detroit has the rail lines and the shipping lines. And acres and acres of factory space.

So cars will be built there. And when the economy gets better, and it will, there will be people to buy those cars. And those people will want to dream about the day they can buy that special ride. That key to freedom, that ostentatious exposition of their unique individuality. And they will go to the Auto Show to dream those dreams. To slide in and out of car seats, making their pants all shiny. To run their hands along the cool metal sides and heavy, powerful haunches of cars that they envision will complete their identity. To let their children bounce into back seats, pulling down the armrest and establishing "their territory", inviolate to their siblings.

And that show will be in Detroit, the Motor City, where Woodward lives and breathes, where the Rouge River plant is a city unto itself. Where America dreams big, and where America builds cars.

That's why there will, nay must, be a Detroit Auto Show.