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All Eyes on Detroit

Page 38

By Paul Sabatini, 2016 NAIAS Chairman

Come this January, more than 800,000 people from 60 different countries across the globe will descend on Detroit for the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS). Over the course of two weeks, vehicles and technologies that will shape the future of the automotive industry for years to come will make their world debuts to 5,000 international press members.

To pull off an auto show to this magnitude, construction begins back in early October and over the next twelve weeks automakers will invest tens of millions of dollars planning, designing and constructing some of the most elaborate, interactive exhibits you’ll see anywhere in the world. These exhibits serve as the stage for over 30 automakers to announce and display their vehicles and next-generation technologies.

For 2016, over 70 percent of the show floor will be brand new. Attendees will experience interactive exhibits that will immerse them into the brand with the hopes of leaving a lasting impression. Technology and design play a big role in creating something that goes beyond just brand awareness to something experiential for the individual.

One new technology that automakers are beginning to utilize is beacon technology. This powerful technology is able to provide instant feedback from attendees’ smartphones on potential car buying preferences by analyzing the time spent and interactions in a display.

Attendees would need to opt in to this interaction through an automakers’ app. This app would allow the automaker to unlock and deliver personalized content as the individual moves through the exhibit space. This custom interaction on a personal level is just one of the many new experiences individuals can expect to see at the 2016 NAIAS.

The auto show expects investments by automakers into these interactive displays next year will likely top $200 million.

Beyond the exhibits and interactive displays, attendees will notice a connection to fellow automotive enthusiasts around the world through “buzz boards” positioned around the show. These boards will be powered by social media giant Twitter and allow attendees instant access to what cars, topics, etc. are trending at the event. Attendees to NAIAS are encouraged to use and follow the auto show’s official hashtag #NAIAS on social media.

Even with a prominent focus on advanced vehicles and technologies, not all that attendees can expect to see at NAIAS 2016 is high-tech.

As a kick off to the NAIAS festivities, three classic cars built in Detroit in the late 1950s and 1960s will embark the day after Christmas on an 11-day journey from their home at The LeMay – America’s Car Museum in Tacoma, Wash., to Detroit in January.

As part of the auto show’s theme, “All Roads Lead to Detroit,” a 1966 Ford Mustang, 1961 Chrysler 300G and a1957 Chevrolet Nomad will brave winter conditions and mountain passes on a 2,400 mile cross-country trek called, “The Drive Home.”

The idea came out of many discussions between LeMay and NAIAS executives. Both were looking for ways to promote their respective businesses, centered on the American love of automobiles. A trek from the museum to the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, using classic American cars, seemed a logical, if extreme, way to accomplish this common goal.

Enthusiast rallies and parties will be held across the 11-days as a way to connect with the automotive enthusiast community and build excitement leading up to the nation’s largest and most prestigious auto show in Detroit. Once in Detroit on Jan. 8, the cars will make a winter drive down iconic Woodward Ave. and arrive in downtown Detroit where a large party and press conference will be held. Following kick off festivities, the cars will make their way to Cobo Center where the auto show is held to go on display for visitors to see.

2016 NAIAS is shaping up to be one of the biggest and most exciting auto shows in quite some time as automotive heritage combines with future vehicles and technologies. From muscle and electric cars, to high-performance supercars and full-size trucks, NAIAS has something for everyone to enjoy.

For more information on the auto show, including dates, times, tickets and planned events, visit