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Detroit Auto Show Ready to Go Mobile with AutoMobili-D

Showcase emphasizes importance of technology in auto industry.

by on Dec.09, 2016

The AutoMobili-D exposition, show in this artist's rendering, is expected to open 50 start-up companies as part of its 120 exhibitors overall.

For years now automakers have been emphasizing the amount of technology used in today’s new cars, trucks and utility vehicles. In fact, so much so that some auto shows are hosting entirely separate “show within a show” style events to showcase that technology.

At the North American International Auto Show, it’s called AutoMobili-D and in its inaugural event, it will feature nearly 50 start-ups from around the world featuring innovative mobility platforms in January at Cobo Center.

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Those start-ups are part of a group of 120 companies overall inhabiting a 120,000 square-foot section of Cobo Center highlighting the latest in autonomous vehicle technology as well as other gee-whiz-advancements for vehicles.

The special showcase runs Jan. 8–12 as part of the Detroit auto show’s Press Preview week and will include displays from the technology firms, show officials said. The Detroit Auto Dealers Association, which runs NAIAS, partnered with Detroit-based Techstars to recruit the companies.

“The North American International Auto Show is the first auto show to feature a dedicated start-up expo featuring companies from around the world that are tackling every aspect of future automotive mobility,” said Sam Slaughter, chairman of this year’s Detroit auto show in a statement.

(Automakers, shows changing to feature technology. For more, Click Here.)

GM's decision to debut the Chevy Bolt at the Consumer Electronics Show instead of at the Detroit Auto Show shows the shift in how automakers view auto shows.

“Of the start-ups featured in AutoMobili-D, close to 90% of them are currently working with global automakers and suppliers to bring their technologies and concepts to production, a truly remarkable achievement.”

The Detroit show isn’t alone in its focus. The Los Angeles Auto Show really took the first step on this front with its AutoMobility LA event this year, which used to be the Connected Car Expo until it merged with the L.A. Auto Show.

However, the real push was generated by the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. More and more automakers were expanding their presence there and its rise in importance followed quickly. In fact, this year’s event will take place the week before the NAIAS and Nissan Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn will keynote the event. Other top auto execs, like Ford’s Mark Fields and Alan Mulally, were featured speakers at CES.

(Click Here for details about the debut of AutoMobility LA.)

However, competition among auto shows globally has intensified overall with automakers picking and choosing which events to appear at and to make announcements. The tech-focused events only makes the competition more fierce.

The latest example is Fiat Chrysler’s decision to unveil at new vehicle at CES and not at the Detroit show. The new vehicle is expected to be shown in Detroit; however, the company will not host a press conference — marking just the second time since 2009 that the company that is perhaps most famous for its over-the-top media events will eschew the show in favor of another option.

“Obviously, Detroit is the biggest show and very important to us. CES is also a big opportunity,” Rick Deneau, a company spokesman, told The Detroit News. “I think it will prove more obvious why specifically we are showing the vehicle first at CES once it’s revealed.”

(To see more about AutoMobili-D, Click Here.)

Deneau declined to comment on specifics of the vehicle. The company will continue to have a substantial presence on Detroit’s show floor. Mini, Jaguar Land Rover, Bentley, Rolls-Royce, Tesla and Maserati are also skipping the 2017 show.

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