Glass breaking, Earth shaking, news making vehicle debuts
Detroit has been known as the Motor City for as long as the locals can remember, and a huge part of the automotive heritage coursing through the city’s veins can be seen at its annual auto show.
Formally hosted in the bitter cold of Michigan winter in the heart of downtown Detroit in what was referred to simply as Cobo, a lot has changed over the years. With a new name, a wider spread into the city and a warmer show date, what was formally known as the North American International Auto Show, or NAIAS to familiars, has been rebirthed as the Detroit Auto Show. Still chock-full of rich history, groundbreaking moments, unforgettable reveals, and enough automotive enthusiasm to keep people coming back year after year, the show is once again ready to entertain car-lovers of all ages.
As we gear up for this year’s Detroit Auto Show, let’s journey back to some of our jaw-dropping highlights from over the years.
It was the winter of 1992, and Cobo Hall was a buzz, counting down to an unusual, never-been-done-before reveal from the Jeep® brand. News media gathered around at the far end of the building as a bright red Jeep slowly started to crawl up the steps of Cobo. Moments later, a shattering of glass and a frenzy of camera flashes occurred as the brand new 1993 Jeep Grand Cherokee made its debut.
From the outside, what looked like a simple reveal took plotting, planning and perfect execution and ended up being one of the most popular vehicle reveals of all-time for the Company and the industry. The iconic “glass break” reveal was a huge hit and put the beloved Jeep Grand Cherokee on the map.
This next larger-than-life vehicle reveal that made its way into Detroit Auto Show history is courtesy of the Ram Truck brand, which at the time was known as Dodge Ram. Prior to the Company splitting up its rugged muscle and HEMI® powered speed, there was a herd of 120 longhorn cattle being corralled down Detroit’s Washington Boulevard by a group of cowboys back in January of 2008.
The brand spared no bells and whistles with the reveal of its first-ever crew-sized cab truck, the 2009 Dodge Ram. This reveal was a lasting moment from the 2008 North American International Auto Show and helped launch the brand into the large-sized pickup segment.
Concepts are some of the most fun auto show reveals for many reasons, most among them is the ability to push creative boundaries.
The Dodge brand did this with their reveal of the 2003 Dodge Tomahawk Concept, a motorcycle powered by a V10 engine from a Dodge Viper. The concept was created to shatter all the barriers of conventional thinking about personal transportation. The four-wheel, single-passenger vehicle was a sleek, rolling sculpture that combined styling with extreme engineering.
The Dodge brand’s love for speed, power and performance made a reveal like the Tomahawk one that made sense. The motorcycle was a concept created through horsepower passion, innovation and the desire to push the limits of the concept car game to a whole new level.
In 2006, the Chrysler brand was introducing its first-ever SUV. The all-new 2007 Chrysler Aspen debuted in the middle of a blizzard. Surprisingly, the blizzard was indoors and not outdoors, which wasn’t always the case.
A flurry of “snow” came down on stage as clowns, dressed playfully in their extra-large shoes and bright colors, battled the blizzard conditions to reveal the all-new vehicle. Dubbed the “300” of SUVs, the Aspen was loaded with performance, premium amenities and fuel-saving tech for the time.
The rich history of the Detroit Auto Show has been built on so much more than just automotive. It’s creativity, technology, passion, practicality, heart, soul and resilience. As we’ve looked back at some major history-making moments for the Company and its brands, we look forward to what this year’s show will reveal.
Head down to Detroit Saturday, Sept. 16 – Sunday, Sept. 24 and check out our display at Huntington Place. We’re ready to make some more history, introduce to our community what’s new and share our love for automotive, tech and the city of Detroit. To purchase tickets to the 2023 Detroit Auto Show, visit NAIAS.com.