2018 NAIAS Floor
Photo: NAIAS

Being from Detroit, I’m accustomed to dealing with unbearably cold winters. But I understand how annoying it can be for auto journalists and industry folks who have to travel every January to the frozen tundra of Michigan for the North American International Auto Show. Well, in what amounts to at least a temporary cure for seasonal depression around the Jalopnik office, the Wall Street Journal reports that organizers of the show are considering moving it from the frozen month of January to the less frozen month of October.


In reality, moving to October would have nothing to do with the weather, though it definitely should. Over the last few years, the Detroit show’s faced increasing competition out west from the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Both are timed for early January, and with the industry laser-focused on developing autonomous and electric vehicle technology, CES has poached some automakers who’d have traditionally attended the Motor City’s event.

Fall in Detroit’s typically wonderful, too, and the move would give attendees a chance to test drive new technologies on streets that aren’t blanketed with ice, according to the Wall Street Journal, citing unnamed people familiar with the matter. The change could happen as soon as next year’s show is complete, reports the WSJ:

While auto-show attendance during public days is robust, the Motor City’s big event has gone from a must-attend event for car companies to one that an increasing amount of auto makers avoid.

The show’s leadership team has yet to make a final decision, several of the people said. Also known as the North American International Auto Show, the event will take place as originally planned in mid-January of 2019 and likely go to its new October slot after that.

When asked by the WSJ, a spokesperson for the auto show confirmed a change is being considered, and said organizers are “exploring opportunities to better leverage the [show] and the region.”

Michigan’s a bit of a hotbed for autonomous driving tests, as well, which makes the Fall even more ideal. Current self-driving car technology can be tripped up by inclement weather, meaning automakers could have a better opportunity in Michigan to show off how future autonomous vehicles might work.


It could also stanch the Detroit show’s bleeding. In January, notes the WSJ, big-time players like Porsche and Volvo didn’t have displays in Motown. And Mercedes already said it won’t attend the 2019 iteration.

And believe me, this news was well-received around Jalop HQ. For reference, look at how happy Raphael Orlove and Mike Ballaban were to be in Detroit for the 2016 auto show, when they lived in a van.


Ballaban, you’ll hear in the video, snidely [edit: “wisely” is the word you’re looking for – M.B.] refers to the conditions as “beautiful January.”

Screenshot: Jalopnik

Hopefully by the time the show’s moved to October, the venue it’s hosted at will have finally switched its name to something other than a racist former Detroit mayor.

Senior Reporter, Jalopnik/Special Projects Desk

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