NAIAS exhibits focus on visuals, content

By: Eric Czarnik | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published January 11, 2016


Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to tour the North American International Auto Show in downtown Detroit in January. 

And in between all the sneak peeks of upcoming and concept vehicles, visitors should expect to see plenty of other sights during their visits, according to auto show organizers and exhibitors.

The media were invited to check out the Cobo Center exhibits in advance Jan. 11-12, and the general public may see the show Jan. 16-24. 

NAIAS organizers have said this year’s show will have a theme that presents Detroit’s role in the global auto industry. In addition, they say about 70 percent of the show floor is new, with plenty of fresh exhibits to see.

John Tulloch, senior vice president at the Auburn Hills-based marketing company George P. Johnson, said Cobo is full and “wall to wall” with top-tier exhibits, and he said some exhibitors are using double-deck platforms to maximize space. 

He said manufacturers generally see a significant, direct return on investment for having a presence there.

“The automotive industry has climbed, and things are in a much better place,” he said.

Tulloch explained that some of the auto show’s interactive displays feature simulations or virtual reality immersion.  He also estimated that there are more LED visual displays at NAIAS than at any event in North America, including award shows and the Super Bowl.

“In the end, this year probably has more visual integration than ever before,” he said. “There really has been a higher movement across all the manufacturers to embrace technology that is on par or above what you see at any theatrical or entertainment production.”

Besides automakers and suppliers, the College for Creative Studies in Detroit is an example of an exhibitor that is returning to NAIAS.

Paul Snyder, chair of transportation design at CCS, predicted good things for his college’s exhibit at the upcoming show. Snyder said the auto show’s CCS exhibit tries every year to highlight all the projects that students worked on in the previous year. 

He said companies such as Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Mercedes-Benz, Honda, General Motors and Michelin have reached out to the college and have donated funds and guidance to help students do design projects. 

“CCS is in an excellent location, and excellent companies come down to sponsor projects,” Snyder said. “Students are given the opportunity to work closely with professionals in the industry … and they also are required to fully finish clay model proposals of their concept.”

Snyder said the CCS exhibit will feature some of the student-designed models that were the result of the company-sponsored projects. Snyder said those models could give auto show visitors a glimpse of what the future of mobility and transportation might look like.

“There has been a lot of hype and news recently about automated vehicles and shared vehicles,” he said. “Some of the concepts reflect those ideas.”

Public viewing for the North American International Auto Show will last from Jan. 16 to 24 at Cobo Center, 1 Washington Blvd., in Detroit. Learn more about tickets by visiting Find out more about the College for Creative Studies in Detroit by visiting