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Rising to dominance

2018 NAIAS shows why the world is looking to Michigan for mobility leadership

From the vantage at this year's North American International Auto show, the past couldn't be further away.

Ostensibly on display over two weeks at NAIAS were upcoming vehicle models. But lurking around the exhibit floor was a rising optimism and pride over how far the auto show has come since 2008, a period when there were serious challenges and issues about the future of the industry.

“Wheels of Time: A History of NAIAS, Detroit's Auto Show” offers a historical perspective of the indefatigable will and perseverance of the auto show that has overcame the most serious challenges to the industry in 2009 to rise to international acclaim.

With the curtain drawn at the 2018 North American International Auto Show, there’s no doubt that the collective impact of this year’s exhibits point to a dominant role for Michigan in the automotive industry’s next chapter – the emergence of mobility.

Over nine days, more than 800,000 visitors strolled through NAIAS, an increase over last year’s show. This year’s show featured more than 700 vehicles and interactive displays. Designs and concepts presented a seductive glimpse at the upcoming product year. 

The prime exhibit, however, was nothing less than a peek at the future – mobility.

From the AutoMobili-D exhibits during industry preview week, the compelling impact of NAIAS focused on mobility startups, innovative technologies and engineering breakthroughs at one of the most exciting transitions in the story of transportation since the mass production of the Model-T.

For years, NAIAS has served as a world stage for the range of automotive products coming from Detroit. 

No other annual event reflects the state’s long history of innovation.

But this year’s auto show – more than any other – elevated Detroit and Michigan as the global center for the transformation to the age of mobility.

NAIAS Executive Director Rod Alberts told the Detroit News: “The biggest testament to the fact that the mobility industry is being redefined here in Detroit is best illustrated by the thousands of media that travel from cross the world to the Motor City.”

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