In 1899, William E. Metzger helped organize the Detroit Auto Show, only the second of its kind. The next year, he helped stage the New York Auto Show in New York’s Madison Square Garden.
An auto show was held in Detroit in 1907 at Beller’s Beer Garden at Riverside Park and since then annually except 1941-1953. During the shows first decades of existence it portrayed only a regional focus. In 1957 international carmakers exhibited for the first time.
In 1987 the Detroit Auto Dealers Association (DADA) proposed it become international. The members of the DADA went to places such as Europe and Japan in the attempt to convince those unveiling their new brands/vehicles in those countries to bring those unveilings to the North American Auto show. That attempt proved to be successful, the North American Auto show was then renamed the North American International Auto Show in 1989. The North American International Auto Show has been hosted in Detroit, Michigan for over a Century.
Since 1965 the show has been held at Cobo Center where it occupies nearly 1 million square feet (93,000 m²) of floor space. The show is particularly important because the Metro Detroit area is the location of the headquarters of the Big Three American automakers, Chrysler, Ford, and General Motors. Prior to being held at the Cobo Center, the show was held at other well known places in the Metro Detroit area. Some of those places include the Light Guard Armory, Wayne Gardens pavilion, and Michigan State Fairgrounds.
The show begins with press preview days, industry preview days and a charity preview event. The charity preview raises money for local children’s charities. In 2004 and 2005, the charity preview attracted 17,500 people at $400 a ticket and raised $7 million in total. 2006 was the sixth consecutive year the charity preview event raised over $6 million. 35,711 tickets were sold for the industry preview representing people from 24 countries in 2005 and 6,897 credentialed press from 63 countries. Over 800,000 attended during the days the show was open to the general public in 2004. It is estimated that the show generates a revenue of over $500 million to the local economy.
EyesOn Design Awards
The Ford GT won the EyesOn Design “Best Designed Production Vehicle” award at the Detroit show while the Buick Avenir was selected as both “Best Concept Vehicle” and “Best Use of Color, Graphics, and Materials” and the Audi Q7 received Best Designed Interior.