Cobo Center — and the City of Detroit — can breathe easy knowing that the convention center will continue to host the Detroit auto show for the next eight years.
That means the North American International Auto Show, arguably Detroit’s most widely recognized events, will continue to take place at the convention center through 2025.
That’s important because the auto show generates millions annually in terms of its economic impact and also puts the motor city on the world stage every January when global automakers reveal their newest products.
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Rod Alberts, president of the Detroit Auto Dealers Association, said the association decided to make an eight-year commitment because of a successful renovation that has improved the venue and improved management under the Detroit Regional Convention Facility Authority.
“It is a perfect setup, perfect size…and this city, this building, this convention center and the way it’s been run is the perfect venue for the North American International Auto Show,” Alberts said in video-taped interview provided by Cobo Center.
Cobo Center’s future as the host of show wasn’t always secure.
Cobo opened to the public in 1960 and was expanded in 1988. But by 2008, the aging convention center was at risk of becoming obsolete for an international auto show that was struggling to compete with the likes of those hosted by New York City, Los Angeles, Paris and Frankfurt.
Paint was peeling, electrical systems were stressed by the load that automakers wanted to place on them, the parking deck on the roof was filled with potholes and burned lights, and the carpet was fading. Worse, Cobo Center’s loading docks were notoriously difficult for trucks to access.[“Source-freep”]