Jan 14 2019
Cobo Conference/Exhibition Center 1 Washington Blvd Detroit, MI 48226-4420

2019 Detroit Auto Show – Your Last Chance to Slip on the Ice

The granddaddy of American auto shows, the North American International Auto Show, more commonly known as the Detroit Auto Show, holds its last winter event in January 2019. After years of debating, the Detroit Auto Dealers Association who put on the show, have agreed that Detroit does not really qualify as a Winter Wonderland and is moving the 2020 show to June.

Several factors influenced the decision, but the overriding reason for the change in calendar is simply to drive more people to the show. More people means more revenue for the event, and just as importantly for the folks in Detroit, more out of area dollars being spent on the local economy. Warm weather also allows for outdoor displays and on road demonstrations, features that are common in other automotive events.

And then there’s the growing trend of prestigious European brands like Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz taking a pass on the winter show. While the official line is they are reevaluating their participation in all shows, the fact that the January show typically means paying overtime for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s for setup crews and an extended setup time thanks to a holiday event schedule at the venue.

So 2019 is the last cold hurrah for Detroit…but it will still be a hot, hot, show!

2018 NAIAS Highlights

Before We Get to the Good Stuff

The big draw is of course, the public show where over 700 brand spanking new cars, trucks, and concept vehicles are on display. But a big part of the show is about mobility in general and its AutoMobili – D program specifically. Over 40,000 industry experts will arrive and network discussing the automotive future, attending industry seminars, and perusing the displays of over 2,000 auto technology vendors and services. Everything from alternative fuels to city planning to autonomous vehicles are discussed making this event a must-go for professionals in the industry.

There’s a Charity Ball that makes the society pages of the local paper and generates millions for local charities. Attendees can sip wine, get down with some rock and roll, all while mixing around $10 million worth of automobiles like Aston Martin, Bentley, and Rolls.

The Good Stuff

GM and Ford have both announced that they are paring back on cars and going all in on crossovers, SUVs, and of course pickup trucks. Interestingly, of the five models making their debut in Detroit, only one can qualify as a crossover. The other four are cars…mostly very fast cars.

Ford confirms Detroit debut with vintage display at LA Auto Show (Hagerty)

Ford Shelby Mustang GT500

They teased it at the Los Angeles show and they are brining it out in Detroit. The much anticipated new GT500 will be the most powerful, street-legal production vehicle Ford has ever produced with over 650 horsepower. Rumor has it the source of all those horses will be a supercharged (not twin turbo) V8 engine. The exact horsepower rating has not been confirmed but the fact that it will be the most powerful means more than the 3.5L V6 that currently holds that title and generates 647 hp

2019 Hyundai Veloster N(MotorAuthority)

2019 Hyundai Veloster N 

A hybrid cross between a hatchback and crossover, the Veloster, with its unique guppy mouth grille is available only in the 3 door configuration in the U.S. market. The base engine is a small displacement 4-cylinder which is not that exciting. However, the 2019 Veloster is available with the N Performance upgrade. Not a great deal is known about this Hyundai platform, but it provides performance enhancements that supposedly give hot compacts like the VW GTI and Ford’s Focus ST a run for their money. Keep an eye on this one.

Volkswagen Golf GTI(Car and Driver)

Volkswagen Golf GTI  

Maybe they knew Hyundai was coming out with a competitor. Whatever the reason, a new, juiced up version of the GTI will be debuting at the Dtroit Auto show. There are some minor appearance changes but under the hood the GTI gets a 2.0L turbocharged 4-cylinder that kicks out 220 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque, a peppy increase over the existing powerplant. Toss in multi-link independent suspension on the rear end and you get a sportier, more fun to drive, VW.

2020 Toyota Supra to debut at NAIAS (The Torque Report)

2020 Toyota Supra (it’s about time) 

It’s no secret that Toyota and BMW got together in 2014 and collaborated on a platform that produced the BMW Z4 Roadster and now, the Toyota Supra. What nobody counted on was Toyota taking nearly six years to get their sports car ready for prime time. Toyota will roll out the Supra at Detroit with plans to begin production sometime in the first quarter of 2019. Initially, the Supra will have a BMW sourced 3.0L turbocharged V6 that will be tuned to somewhere between 330 hp and 380 hp. It will be mated to an eight speed automatic with a manual six speed available with a 4-cylinder model that will roll out later in 2019.

That’s the lineup for newbies at Detroit for this year’s show. Of course, all the regular refreshes will be on display and you’ll have plenty of automotive eye candy to keep you occupied. Next year you won’t have to lug that heavy winter coat around.