NAIAS signs 5-year contract with Cobo Center image

The North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) signed a five-year agreement to keep America’s largest auto show at Cobo Center through 2017, the two parties announced on Thursday.

In a joint press conference, auto show representatives and Cobo Center officials announced the multi-year deal. “It’s our way of saying, Detroit, we are with you,” Bill Perkins, chairman of the 2012 show, was quoted as saying by the Detroit News.

In the past, organizers had threatened to give up Cobo and choose Oakland County instead, blaming space problems and deteriorating conditions at Cobo. However, in 2009, the Detroit Regional Convention Facility Authority took over control of Cobo from the city, announcing $279 million investments in renovations and expansions. When the upgrade will be completed, Cobo Center will have 150,000 square feet more than today.

NAIAS attracts every year thousands of journalists from across the globe, and hundreds of thousands of spectators, with more than 730,000 visiting the show last year. “Keeping it in Detroit keeps Detroit’s reputation of the home for the auto show intact,” said Sandy K. Baruah, president and CEO of the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce.

About $3 million in renovations were completed in 2010 in an initial phase, and about $55 million in a second phase will be completed after this year’s show. The remaining $221 million in renovations include work to the arena and a glass atrium.