THE North American International Auto Show (NAIAS), arguably the USA’s biggest automotive gathering, got underway yesterday.
Kicking off 2018 was the ultra-luxury event, The Gallery, now in its 12th year. This year The Gallery is back at Detroit’s Cobo Centre in the atrium overlooking the international waterway.
Guests will experience a nearly $10 million collection of ‘the most acclaimed automobiles the world has to offer’, including brands such as Aston Martin, Bentley, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Porsche and Rolls Royce.
From January 14-21, through NAIAS’ strategic partnership with Techstars Mobility, 57 startups from around the world will participate and showcase their mobility technologies as part of AutoMobili-D.
“Building on the success of the inaugural launch of AutoMobili-D in 2017, the startup zone has expanded for 2018 and will feature a nearly 40 per cent increase in startups participating from around the world that are highlighting innovations that touch on every aspect of mobility,” said Ryan LaFontaine, 2018 NAIAS Chairman. “Collectively these startups have raised more than $157 million in venture capital funding.”
“Detroit is transforming from the Motor City to the Mobility City,” added Ted Serbinski, Managing Director, Techstars Mobility. “Anchoring this transformation is AutoMobili-D, which is bringing mobility startups from around the world to Detroit. This event has emerged as a crucial connector of mobility startups to automotive and mobility companies, suppliers and related organisations.”
NAIAS will also become a hands-on classroom on January 24th when the 14th annual NAIAS Education Day showcases the changing world of mobility to thousands of Michigan students.
Presented by Ally, NAIAS Education Day gives students – from grade school through college level – a hands-on look at the vehicles and technologies that are changing the face of today’s automobile industry, as well as the careers behind them. Last year’s event drew 4,000 students from 81 different schools.
“NAIAS Education Day gives students a behind-the-scenes look at the auto industry with the hope that it will inspire a whole new generation of automotive thought leaders,” said LaFontaine. “We’d like to think that students walk away with a better understanding of and appreciation for the rapidly changing pace of the world of mobility.”
In addition to exploring the latest products and technologies on display, NAIAS Education Day participants will have the chance to engage with the show long before and after their visit. Pre- and post-lesson plans are posted on the NAIAS Education Day website (naias.com/ned.htm).
The lesson plans also include a test component specifically designed for students in automotive tech curriculums.
The nine-day Public Show runs from January 20-28.
Among the anticipated production car debuts are the Audi A7, BMW i8 Coupe and BMW X2, Chevrolet Silverado, Honda Insight (prototype), Hyundai Veloster, Jeep Cherokee, Lamborghini Urus (US debut), Mercedes-AMG CLS53 and Mercedes-Benz G-Class, Rolls Royce Phantom (US debut), Toyota Avalon and the Volkswagen Jetta.
A motor show was held in Detroit back in 1907 and since then has been an annual event except between 1941-1953. Initially it had a regional focus but in 1957 international carmakers exhibited for the first time.
It took until 1987, however, before the the Detroit Auto Dealers Association (DADA) suggested that it become international: their members went to Europe and Japan to convince manufacturers to unveil their new vehicles at the North American Auto show.
Their successful endeavours meant that, two years later, the show was renamed the North American International Auto Show. Since 1965 the event has been held at the Cobo Centre where it occupies nearly one million square feet (93,000 m²) of floor space.
The show is particularly important for the area because the ‘Big Three’ American car makers – Chrysler, Ford, and General Motors – have their headquarters in Detroit.