DETROIT — Pounding. Sawing. Painting. Those are some of the sights and sounds one will experience when walking through Detroit’s Cobo Center. Construction crews are setting up for the 2017 North American International Auto Show. They are working around the clock to get the automaker and supplier displays ready.
“It’s real exciting, we have a 12-week build,” said Max Muncey, public relations manager for the 2017 NAIAS. “We started back in October, so before even Halloween. We’re making a lot of progress, but we’ve still got a long way to go. We’ll have more than 1,500 union laborers pretty much on 24/7 shifts. It actually takes over 1,500 semi trucks to bring in all of the materials for the build.”
That’s pretty exciting. What percent would you say the displays are done?
“I would say just over 50 percent done. Some exhibits that start early in October are a little further than others. We’ll keep working right up until that Sunday night before press days. It’s a full-time shift right now. All hands on deck.”
Most of the exhibit stands will be in the normal spots. However, a few of them have been redesigned for 2017. Alfa Romeo and Hyundai’s Genesis brand will both be in new locations this year.
I’m sure that people are wondering…When do the cars get brought in?
“That’s really funny since the cars are the stars here. The cars are really the last thing to get brought in. Really, that last weekend before press days, cars will start coming in. All the way up until that morning actually of getting everything on site and all moved in. It’s really cool to watch that last-second commotion on the show floor.”
Finally, what’s new and exciting at the auto show this year?
“We’ve got a lot of new exhibit builds this year. Last year, about 70 percent of the show floor was brand new to the tune of about $270 million of investment. This year, we have about a dozen automakers that have new exhibit builds. They’re jam packed with LED screens, a lot of video games and interactive displays. They really want to immerse the consumer. We’ll have over 700 cars for people to come in and check out and some really awesome family friendly activities. I’m really looking forward to seeing everybody in the city.”
The 2017 NAIAS opens to the media with Automobili-D on Jan. 8 and continues all week long up until the annual Charity Preview on Friday, Jan. 13. Then, the auto show opens to the public on Jan. 14 and runs until Jan. 22.