Atlantic Cities
Postcard

Detroit Gets Ready for the Auto Show

Car companies from around the region and the world are in downtown Detroit for the next two weeks to show off their newest rides.

The recently renovated Cobo Center has been hosting the North American International Auto Show since 1965. The event started at a beer garden in the city's Riverside Park in 1907. This year, it includes 17 different auto companies who've put more than 50 new vehicles on display for media previews (often with elaborate presentations that vary between artistic and apocalyptic). Next weekend, it'll open to the public.

In all, the NAIAS is expected to bring in 800,000 visitors and contribute $365 million to the local economy, more than Super Bowl XL brought to Detroit in 2006 ($275 million or $317 million adjusted to inflation). 

This will be the first auto show for Mike Duggan as mayor of the host city. Fighting off the relentless bankruptcy narrative that surrounds Detroit's international image these days, Duggan sees the event as an opportunity to prove that there's a lot more to the city than it's financial woes. Standing inside the much improved Cobo Center late last week, the mayor told press members, "Cobo has never looked better, and I don’t think the auto show has ever looked better."

Below, a look around downtown Detroit over the last few days as the city and car makers from around the world have been getting ready for the big event:

Work crews put up a Kia auto banner outside the Cobo Center, home of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, January 9, 2014. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

A Hyundai Genesis banner is displayed outside the Cobo Center, January 9, 2014. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, center, tours the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, right, shakes a worker's hand as he tours the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, January 9, 2014. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Aaron Perry looks over photographs of General Motors products on the floor of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Crews work on the turntable at the Infiniti exhibit at Cobo Center, Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

General Motors vehicles are seen under wraps at Cobo Center, Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Chevrolet's high-performance 2015 Corvette Z06 sits under-wraps while workers prepare for the media preview at Cobo Center in Detroit, Michigan January 11, 2014. (REUTERS/Rebecca Cook)

Auto show worker Jorge Martinez details a General Motors vehicle under wraps, as they prepare the displays at Cobo Center in Detroit, Michigan January 11, 2014. (REUTERS/Rebecca Cook) 

Musician Kelly Rowland performs next to the new Mercedes-Benz 2015 C-Class during a private preview for media at the Westin Book Cadillac Hotel in Detroit, Michigan January 12, 2014, on the eve of the 2014 North American International Auto Show. (REUTERS/Joshua Lott)

Actors surround a large box as a Toyota FT-1 concept car is unveiled on stage during the press preview day of the NAIAS in Detroit, January 13, 2014. (REUTERS/Rebecca Cook) 

Phil Bailey (R) joins a group of labor activists as they rally for jobs and pensions outside Cobo Center ahead of the media preview of the NAIAS in Detroit, Michigan January 12, 2014. (REUTERS/Rebecca Cook)

Jennifer Teed joins a group of labor activists as they rally for jobs outside Cobo Center, January 12, 2014. (REUTERS/Rebecca Cook) 

Chairman of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars Dieter Zetsche speaks during an interview at the Westin Book Cadillac Hotel in Detroit, January 12, 2014. (REUTERS/Joshua Lott) 

Incoming General Motors CEO Mary Barra is surrounded by media at the debut of the 2015 GMC Canyon during media previews for the NAIAS, January 12, 2014. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Ford Motor Co., Executive Chairman Bill Ford addresses the media at the NAIAS, Monday, Jan. 13, 2014. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Mark Byrnes is an associate editor at The Atlantic Cities. All posts »

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