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North American International Auto Show Celebrates Detroit’s Innovative Technology

By Rod Alberts

We are experiencing one of the most dramatic shifts in our industry I have ever experienced in my more than 25-year history leading the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS). The disruption of new, mobility focused technologies and advent of autonomous vehicles is quickly changing the automotive landscape, and I believe we will see more change in the next 10 years than we have seen in the last 50.

Michigan holds leadership positions in talent development, auto R&D and vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) testing. With 61 out of the top 100 global suppliers being headquartered in Michigan and 15 global automakers having R&D facilities or their headquarters in the state, more than 25 percent of all automotive patents are generated in Michigan. To put that into perspective, that is three times as many as any other state in the United States.

With all of this excitement and development happening right in our backyard, the NAIAS is well-positioned to showcase these companies and revolutionary technologies.

With that in mind, we are launching AutoMobili-D, a 120,000-square-foot exposition within NAIAS that will feature more than 120 companies, ranging from automakers and suppliers to tech startups. These industry-leading companies will demonstrate and debut technologies and innovations focused on future mobility and transportation platforms. Thought leaders and executives from participating companies will participate in symposiums and speaking opportunities from our atrium stage and adjoining Planet M hall during Industry Preview.

John Krafcik, CEO of Google’s Self-Driving Car Project, will keynote the kickoff to AutoMobili-D on Sunday, Jan. 8. Including Krafcik’s address, NAIAS will have five dedicated days of content during Preview Week (Press Days and Industry Days), on everything from vehicle reveals and industry outlooks to the mobility ecosystem. In total, over 55 hours of thought-provoking, engaging content will be delivered from the global stage NAIAS provides.

NAIAS has a tremendous impact on our region, with an economic impact totaling $430 million. Our much-anticipated Charity Preview, started back in 1976 by a group of local Detroit auto dealers, is the largest annual single-night fundraiser in the world, with $5.2 million being raised for local children’s charities in 2016. In total, more than 815,000 people walked through the doors of the world-class Cobo Center and experienced the latest and greatest vehicles this world has to offer.

It is an honor to be part of our nation’s most prestigious and influential automotive showcase, and I encourage you all to visit us in January.

For more information on the show, please visit

Rod Alberts is the executive director of the North American International Auto Show.