GRAND RAPIDS | New Car Dealers Association Celebrates 20 Years at the

2018 Michigan International Auto Show –  February 1-4, 2018 at DeVos Place

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich – It has been 20 years since the very first Michigan International Auto Show, hosted by the Grand Rapids New Car Dealers Association (GRNCDA) and produced by ShowSpan Inc., rolled into Grand Rapids. The first five years, the event was held in the Grand Center and in 2004 it moved into the newly opened DeVos Place. This year’s event, February 1-4, is sure to be the biggest and best to date. Gentex Corp., steps up as the presenting sponsor for this commemorative event. 


Did you know that in 1999, the year of that first Michigan International Auto Show, was also the 100th anniversary of the very first public automotive show in the United States, held at the Detroit Light Guard Armory and organized by William E. Metzger—the first sales manager for the Cadillac Motor Company. New York and Chicago quickly followed suit, in 1900 and 1901 respectively.  


“We are proud to celebrate our 20th Anniversary here in Grand Rapids and the 120thAnniversary of the first American Auto Show in Detroit. That very first Auto Show soon lead to the Auto Retailers with “Show Rooms” Prior to then cars were advertised in magazines and sold directly by the small manufacturers of the time.  Auto Dealerships and their Showrooms soon developed across the country.”


Once again, hundreds of vehicles from more than 35 global manufacturers will grace the exhibit halls – including sedans, vans, SUVs, trucks, hybrids, sports cars and a handful of pre-production and concept vehicles. Product specialists are also on hand to answer questions and tell guests about the latest features and technological advances in today’s new cars.


“The vehicles designed and built today are all about style, comfort and performance,” says Terry Burns, Executive Director – GRNCDA. “This year’s Michigan International Auto Show offers attendees a unique opportunity to see stunning new vehicles from numerous manufacturers, sit inside and experience the comfort, while reviewing the numerous options and features.”


Returning features include the “Million Dollar Motorway” – a room filled with dozens of luxury cars valued at between $100,000 and $400,000 (including Aston Martin, Bentley, Cadillac, Lamborghini, Lexus, Maserati, Porsche, Rolls Royce and others); performance vehicles from Chevrolet, Ford and Dodge; as well as an impressive display of vintage vehicles from the Gilmore Car Museum in Hickory Corners, which is celebrating its 65th Anniversary this year.


Other highlights include the Toyota Ride & Drive where you can get behind the wheel of the first ever C-HR, the all new Camry, RAV4 and Highlander (all 2018 models) and take them for a spin around downtown; the Design Center Graffiti Wall presented by the Ice Guru where attendees can customize their own vehicle concept for social sharing; Gizmo the Robot wandering the show floor, entertaining attendees of all ages; and the Pit Stop Diner will be serving up menu items that you might find at the racetrack—burgers, chili cheese dogs, bacon melts and even Dippin’ Dots. 


“The auto show is a really exciting experience for dealers,” says Tom Makarewicz, President of the GRNCDA. “Each year offers a new and electrifying collection of vehicles and it always amazes me when I see it all put together.  The automotive industry is a great business to be in, and seeing so many people in attendance admiring the vehicles and pointing out their favorite aspects reminds me why we do this.”


The National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) predicts the sale of 16.7 million new cars and light trucks in 2018, creating a healthy market year for automakers and dealers around the country. 


“Automakers are continuing to meet the demand with a fantastic mix of vehicles that really do suit the needs, desires and budgets of our customers, so the inventory that we’re carrying in our showrooms are aligning very well with what our customers are looking for,” says NADA Chairman Mark Scarpelli. 


The Auto Show kicks off with the Charity Spectacular on Wednesday, January 31 from 6:00-9:30pm (with a live broadcast from 7-8pm on WOOD TV8 and WOTV4). Dressed in cocktail attire, guests have the unique opportunity for a sneak peek experience inside the Michigan International Auto Show. Tickets are $150 each, and through a long-standing partnership, over $1.7 million has been raised to support vital programs at the Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital. More than 1,500 guests are expected to attend, making it the largest annual charity event in Grand Rapids. Tickets may be purchased online at or by calling 616-391-2000.


The 20th Annual Michigan International Auto Show is presented by the Grand Rapids New Car Dealers Association and is one of 14 consumer expositions produced by ShowSpan Inc., in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Founded in 1945, ShowSpan – a John D. Loeks Company – has grown to be one of the largest producers of consumer shows in the Midwest. 


Michigan International Auto Show: February 1-4, 2018


            Thursday, February 1     11:00am – 9:30pm

            Friday, February 2         11:00am – 9:30pm

            Saturday, February 3     10:00am – 9:30pm

            Sunday, February 4       10:00am – 5:00pm


Admission: $12 adults, $5 children aged 6 to 14.  Kids 5 and under are admitted free.