Detroit, MI (January 25, 2016) - 2016 is off to a great start in the Motor City as the North American International Auto attendance rose again this year. This is the first year the event was held since the completion of the $279,000,000 renovation and expansion of host venue Cobo Center.
“We had a lot of positive comments about the changes here at Cobo from the car companies and the dealers as well as attendees at the show”, said Assistant General Manager Claude Molinari.
Major changes included the addition of a 3rd large format video board on the exterior of the facility – a marquee measuring 160 feet by 30 feet - as well as the addition of an upscale coffee/wine bar called the Cork & Grind.
With 104,263 attendees on the final day of the auto show, the total ticketed attendance was 815,575 which edged out last year's total of 808,775 and realized the highest attendance since 2003.
“That means they averaged nearly 91,000 people attending the auto show each day. In other words, in 14 days we had more attendees than an entire NFL home game season – including pre-season games!” added Molinari.
According to the organizers of the show, the Detroit Auto Dealers Association, more than 70 percent of the displays at the show were new, which represented about $200 million in investments from automakers, suppliers an auto show partners.
This year's show also included a visit from President Obama. Mr. Molinari served as the facility's liaison with the White House and Secret Service to address all security and coordination issues from the facility's side, adding: "It was a challenge to make sure everything ran smoothly. An entire hall of exhibits was closed down for the duration of President Obama's time on site. At the same time we had over 30,000 people in the building looking at the other displays. Parking was shut down and there was some impact on traffic, but everything went off without a hitch and I can honestly say it was one of the highlights of my career at SMG."
In all, the DADA estimates that the show had a nearly $430 million impact to the regional economy, which is up $30 million from last year. “The $430 million in economic impact is nearly equivalent to having two Super Bowls in Detroit every year, a truly astounding figure when you stop and think about it," NAIAS Chairman Paul Sabatini.
More than 13,000 also attended the Charity Preview, raising $5.2 million for eight local charities. Also, 5,068 journalists from 60 different countries were at the press previews on the first two days of the auto show, where 61 vehicles were introduced and six vehicles debuted. “In the five years we’ve been involved with the show this was not only the best attended but also the smoothest running by far,” said Molinari.