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Heard on Detroit Today with Stephen Henderson

Big Changes for Auto Industry with Auto Show Move, Marchionne Death

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Image credit: Jake Neher/WDET

Are auto shows still relevant? Detroit carves a new path for NAIAS.

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Jake Neher/WDET
Jake Neher/WDET

This week we got the official word a major shift would be happening in Detroit’s car culture — the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) will no longer inhabit the most bitter cold weeks of January that the Midwest has to offer.

Come 2020 the auto show will be in early June. It’s arguably one of the most beautiful times of year in Detroit and it will include a festival-like atmosphere that will sprawl throughout the city.

On its face, it seems like a good and smart idea. And it will surely attract more visitors, including from within our own state and city.

But every good idea comes with considerations, like hotels and restaurants which rely on strong business pouring in with the auto show at the beginning of the calendar year.

Detroit Today host Stephen Henderson speaks with Michelle Krebs, the Detroit-based executive analyst for, about this move.

Michelle KrebsJake Neher/WDET
Jake Neher/WDET

Michelle Krebs

There’s a lot of questions around auto shows in general — are they still relevant?” says Krebs.

This will be the third re-invention of the Detroit auto show.”

The big question of moving it to June is, there’s no lack of things to as it is in June in Michigan,” she continues, asking whether it will generate the same kind of economic impact as a show in January.

The auto industry is dealing with another major change this week as it mourns the loss of Sergio Marchionne, who served as CEO of Fiat Chrysler until this weekend when complications from surgery forced the company to replace him.

Those complications led to his death Wednesday morning. Marchionne is credited with saving both Fiat and Chrysler from the brink. He was 66 years old.

It’s certainly very sad news and a big loss for the city,” says Krebs of Marchionne’s death. “He saved a lot of jobs here in Chrysler…He came here and saw this incredible culture we have…they (Fiat-Chrysler) were big sponsors of a lot of theater and all the culture. And they recognized the comeback of Detroit early on.”

Click on the audio player above to hear the full conversation.

Detroit Today

Dynamic and diverse voices. News, politics, community and the issues that define our region. Hosted by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Stephen Henderson, Detroit Today brings you fresh and perceptive views weekdays at 9 am and 7 pm.

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