Sorry Big Apple. Detroit is still the King.

Without question, the New York show is one of the best in the world, and being the center of the media universe, New York has some very real benefits to automakers looking to make a big splash.

So, as my cab pulled up to the gleaming glass structure known as the Jacob Javitz Center on day one of media days on Wednesday, one question popped into my head:

“Where the heck is everybody?”

Okay, I’m a bit of a homer, I admit it.  I worked on the PR team for the North American International Auto Show for seven years, and frankly the Detroit show gets in your blood.  It’s a two-week, high- pressure, sun-up to sundown PR free-for-all.    It’s among the hardest assignments I’ve ever had, but among the most rewarding, too.

I expected much of the same here in New York, too.  But, when I saw one of my favorite video consultants (who shall remain nameless to protect the innocent), she didn’t have that crazed, running on fumes, meeting tons of deadlines look you see in Detroit.

“Hey, how’s the show,” I asked.  “You running around like crazy?”

Her answer stunned me…

“Nah…not so much,” she said.  “Got a few things going on, but nothing major.”

And, as I roam the cavernous Javitz Center, I can see why.  There just aren’t that many people here.  Despite this being media Mecca, New York press days pale in comparison to Detroit.  A typical year in the Motor City?  More than 6,000 journalists, every major broadcast, print and online publication in the world in attendance and major news coming out of the show.  Every year.  Bar none.

The biggest news here so far?  The Nissan Leaf is affordable.  Yawn.

The North American International Auto Show is still the king.  And, I predict, it will be for some time.  At the NADA/IHS Global Insight Automotive Forum here yesterday, several industry pundits said Ford and GM are on the comeback trail.  Noted industry journalist John McElroy went as far as to say they will be “wildly profitable.”

Strong domestic automakers will cement Detroit’s role as the world’s auto capital.  In turn, the NAIAS will stay the king of the North American shows.  It will keep pumping millions into the local economy, and keep shining a positive light on the region.

Now, if we can just fix Cobo…but that’s a blog for another day.


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