For several years now, we've been reporting on the accelerating decline of NAIAS—and DVN is far from the only publication running headlines like the one on this article. This year the Detroit auto show's irrelevance seemed absolute, not just relative to other shows and events that have grown more popular as the Detroit show has lost lustre. Consider: a DVN Report coming soon contains nearly 300 pictures from the Los Angeles auto show, while the new and notable exhibits at the much smaller Detroit show can be adequately covered with this article here in the weekly news. Likewise, the Automobili-D sideshow down in the basement of Cobo Hall—the "D" is for "Detroit"—looked and felt like a small-town pie-eating contest versus CES' world's fair. This places some participants in something of a difficult position; there are quite a few universities within easy distance of Detroit with highly worthy engineering programmes, no surprise given the longstanding industrial seat, and they really deserve CES-level foot and eye traffic. But they surely didn't get it. And up on stage, panellists valiantly discussed vehicular autonomy and technology before rows upon nearly-empty rows of seats.
So the Detroit show is clearly ailing. This was the last one to be held in January; it's being moved to June and reworked as a more immersive experience with test rides and other suchlike. Will that be enough, and in time, to save it? We'll have to wait and see. Meanwhile, here are some notable things we saw: