Big Detroit auto show abandons September date and will move back to its roots in January

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The 2024 Cadillac CT5 luxury sedan was unveiled at the North American International Auto Show on Sept. 19, 2023 in Detroit. (Adobe Stock)

Detroit’s big auto show is returning to January after an ill-fated two-year move to warmer September in an effort to create more outdoor experiences and draw more consumers.

The next North American International Auto Show is now scheduled for Jan. 10 through Jan. 20 next year, organizers said Thursday.

The move comes as auto shows worldwide struggle to attract crowds and persuade car companies to reveal new models. Auto companies have found they can show off new models with less-expensive virtual events that don’t have to compete with multiple other announcements at shows.

Rod Alberts, the Detroit show’s executive director, said in a statement that after talking with numerous partners, officials believe returning to January makes sense.

The show has taken place in September for the past two years, with few new model debuts and attendance faltering. The move to September was aimed at showing off new technology and models outdoors with more driving experiences, but that didn’t really materialize.

Past shows in January, when there is less to do in Detroit, drew around 800,000 people. Officials never revealed attendance for the two September shows, but organizers said in 2022 they’d be happy with 500,000.

“In a constantly changing global automotive landscape, this update reflects our efforts to continue to reimagine the Detroit auto show with keeping an eye on what matters most – getting people excited about cars,” Alberts said in a statement.

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