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Heard on Detroit Today with Stephen Henderson

No Auto Show In January Leaves Fans, Retailers Looking to Summer

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Image credit: Detroit Auto Dealers Association

This is the month that is usually defined by all things cars, but this year things are different. What do local business owners and the auto industry think of the change?

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Normally this time of year in Detroit is all things cars, but this year is the first time in a long time that that’s not the case.

The North American International Auto Show in Detroit has been moved to June and that means the workflow and planning for automakers who exhibit cars at the show is a little different. And local businesses have also been feeling the hit as they aren’t getting the usual bump in business. Here to talk about the lack of a January auto show are two women are no strangers to WDET.

Usually 800,000 people come to the auto show, and last year it was down quite a bit.” - Erin Marquis, Jalopnik

Detroit Today host Stephen Henderson is joined by former WDET interns, Rachel Lutz, who owns the women’s boutique The Peacock Room and Erin Marquis, Managing Editor for Jalopnik.

Click on the player above to hear the full conversation.

Jake Neher/WDET
Jake Neher/WDET

Henderson confesses that he’s actually been enjoying the break this month, but Lutz notes that it’s not as welcome a break for area retailers. 

Auto Show preview usually results in thousands of dollars of extra revenue,” says Lutz, who adds that January is a typically slow time for retailers. However she is optimistic that it will be a short term hurt, that will likely be more than made up for when June rolls around. Lutz says this is also a change that was announced more than a year ago, so retailers and restaurants have had time to prepare for this adjustment.  

Marquis says the show was “originally put in the winter because there’s nothing else to do in Detroit” this time of year. She points out that many international automakers will not be participating in the show this year, and attendance by auto makers, journalists and the public were all down last year. 

Usually 800,000 people come to the auto show, and last year it was down quite a bit.”

But, the real drop last year was in the number of journalists who were at the show. Marquis says the number of journalists covering the event was down by 1,000. As for why this is happening, Marquis points to the growing number of smaller local shows happening in other cities across the country.

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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