Automakers on board for new Detroit auto show mobility exhibit

A rendering of the AutoMobili-D exposition planned for Cobo Center in January 2017.

General Motors, Nissan and Toyota will have a presence at the Detroit auto show’s new mobility-themed exhibit in 2017, show organizers said today.

The 120,000-square-foot AutoMobili-D exposition, which will be filled with more than 100 automakers, suppliers and startups, features an area in the Cobo Center’s atrium overlooking the Detroit River in addition to a zone in the adjoining Hall E where companies will set up shop.

The auto show is also adding an outdoor driving experience on a 1.5-mile closed loop, which will be accessible from Cobo’s atrium, where manufacturers can demonstrate autonomous technologies.

The show, facing competition from the increasingly popular Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, says the new exhibit will give visitors a loo3k at the evolving world of consumer mobility. It will open Jan. 9, on the eve of press days, and will last through the industry days on Jan. 11-12.

AutoMobili-D will be another brand in the show’s portfolio to go along with industry days and the charity preview, said Rod Alberts, executive director of the North American International Auto Show.

“This will not be like a typical trade show,” Alberts said during a press conference today. “This is going to be more community-based, mobility-based. When you walk in, you’re going to feel like you’re in a high-tech area.”

The suppliers involved in the exhibit include IBM, Magna International, Schaeffler and ZF. The show partnered with startup incubator Techstars Mobility to select the roster of startup companies in AutoMobili-D.

Techstars Mobility, based in an office in Ford Field, is working with 12 startups this summer with focuses ranging from the personalization of self-driving cars to carpool solutions for families. The three-year program, which gives each startup $120,000 in funding, kicked off last summer with 10 startups.

There will be speakers, panels and other events at the show that will cater to the startup mindset, said Ted Serbinski, managing director of Techstars Mobility.

It will be a “different type of content for these startup individuals who operate in a totally different world. Instead of planning for years and decades, they’re planning for days and weeks ahead,” Serbinski said. It’s “content that tailors to them from an investment standpoint, from an automotive standpoint and bringing those two worlds together.”

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