For the first time in more than 30 years, the word “Detroit” returns to the North American International Auto Show’s name, organizers announced Tuesday as they also unveiled a new logo and plans for extensive test drives on the same downtown streets that will host an Indy Car race next year.
The North American International Auto Show Detroit takes place downtown Sept. 14-25. The name changed to the “North American International Auto Show” in 1989. Before that, it was simply the Detroit Auto Show.
Whether the car-shopping crowds attending the show in its new fall time frame will be able to buy the new vehicles displayed in Huntington Place remains an open question, as automakers struggle with ongoing supply chain disruptions.
The show will feature at least five tracks for moving vehicles within Detroit’s riverfront Huntington Place convention center — formerly TCF Center and Cobo Center.
The main show floor will be filled with a mix of traditional auto show displays and interactive attractions, according to the Detroit Auto Dealers Association.
Return of the Charity Preview
The show will also include the Friday evening Charity Preview, which benefits southeast Michigan children’s charities. The popular event is likely to feature an indoor/outdoor tone to take advantage of pleasant fall weather and Detroit’s riverfront views and facilities.
“We are thrilled to bring back our much anticipated and long-standing Charity Preview,” show chairman Joe Lunghamer said. The fancy-dress preview has raised $121 million for local charities since its inception in 1976
Charity Preview at a glance
Huntington Place, Detroit
Friday, Sept. 16
Prices: $400 each/$700 pair
Tickets on sale July 11.
Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeast Michigan
The Children’s Center
The Children’s Foundation
Detroit Autos Dealers Association Charitable Foundation fund
University of Michigan Heals C.S.Mott Children’s Hospital.
Attractions throughout downtown
Multiple brands will offer test drives on the Indy track, which returns to a downtown street circuit after years at Belle Isle Park. The 1.7-mile course will include a long straight on Jefferson Avenue, tight turns and a run near the RiverWalk.
DADA is working with the Downtown Detroit Partnership to offer free entertainment downtown as well.
There’s no word yet on how many automakers will participate, or whether there will be any of the flashy new-vehicle debuts that drew international attention to the auto show when it took place in January.
The move to September allows automakers to hold outdoor activities demonstrating new vehicles and features.
Expect a heavy emphasis on electric vehicles and off-road capable SUVs, in addition to updates to long-standing favorites.
Some events associated with the show will also take place at the nearby riverfront Hart Plaza.
The show will also include the AutoMobili-D tech and mobility incubator, expected to draw more than 80 startups, suppliers and universities.
2022 North American International Auto Show Detroit dates
Media day – Wednesday, Sept. 14
AutoMobili-D and industry tech days, Sept. 14-15
Charity Preview – Friday, Sept. 16
Public show – Saturday, Sept. 17-Sunday, Sept. 25
A new kind of auto show
Auto shows have changed immensely since Detroit hosted its last full-scale event in January 2019. Automakers reduced spending on their lavish vehicle unveilings, abandoning some shows completely. Those changes led Detroit auto dealers to move the show from its traditional winter dates to a fall window more accommodating to test drives, demos of new features and technologies, and other interactive events to engage buyers.
COVID-19 restrictions then led to the outright cancellation of many auto shows, while others offered greatly scaled-back events in pandemic lulls.
Now, automakers are struggling to build vehicles to meet demand.
“Auto shows are for consumers to go shopping,” Cox Automotive executive analyst Michelle Krebs said. “We’re hoping the supply of vehicles will have improved by then so there’s something for people to buy.”
This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Charity Preview, race course test drives highlight September auto show