Rod Alberts is the first to admit that Industry Preview wasn’t his idea. “Great shows benchmark from each other,” says Alberts. “We travel the world and pick up ideas everywhere we go. Some work, some don’t. This one worked.”

The idea was developed when a committee representing the Detroit Auto Dealers Association (producer of the “Detroit Auto Show,” as it was known in 1989), visited the Frankfurt International Motor Show in Germany looking for ideas.

The committee learned about Frankfurt’s industry days and figured if it could work there it could work in Detroit given the dominance of automotive-related companies in Southeastern Michigan.

“This area is rich with people who work in the auto industry,” says Alberts. “From the auto manufacturers, to the companies that supply the manufacturers, to the companies that supply the suppliers… Michigan is the number one state when it comes to auto suppliers, jobs, and economic impact.”

According to the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s Automotive Office, 61 of the top 100 automotive suppliers in the world are headquartered in Michigan. In all, nearly 110,000 people are employed by approximately 800 automotive suppliers in the state.

Entering its 25th year as one of North American International Auto Show (NAIAS)’ “five shows in one” (also including The Gallery, Press Preview, Charity Preview, and Public Show) Industry Preview provides an up-close-and-personal opportunity reserved specifically for those related to the auto industry such as engineers, designers, branding and marketing executives, technicians, researchers, and countless others.

More than 34,000 of these individuals, and others who wanted to view the vehicles in a more private setting, attended Industry Preview at NAIAS 2014, representing 2,330 companies from 28 countries around the world. Alberts says the event remains an important, must-attend and relevant event for those connected to the auto industry.

“As in Frankfurt, we have incredible global reach,” says Alberts. “But there’s a huge pride factor here.” You can see it on the faces of the people as they stand, like proud parents, gazing at the vehicles they helped create. There’s a lot of talent here. These are the hometown heroes of the auto business.”

Dr. Kunibert Schmidt, former executive director of the Frankfurt show, said it’s likely that Industry Preview couldn’t be successful in most other markets in the United States.

“With no disrespect meant, but I’m quite certain of this,” says Schmidt, now a consultant to a number of Tier One suppliers. “Detroit acknowledged long ago that the supplier community is very important; NAIAS has gone out of its way to provide a special welcome for them.

“Of course it doesn’t hurt that the show is one of the most important in the world in terms of media attendance and global product reveals. That’s also why you see top automotive CEOs every year at Cobo Center.”

Industry Preview has grown over the years and has become a platform for various conferences, symposia, industry-related gatherings, and networking opportunities. Today, related services such as financial groups, insurance companies, and analyst & consulting organizations are also gathering at NAIAS. 

NAIAS 2015 Industry Preview will be held today, 14 January, from 12 pm – 9 pm and Thursday 15 January from 7 am – 9 pm.


Original source