Could a massive vinyl "rubber" duck help draw people to Detroit's first auto show since 2019?
The North American International Auto Show is set to open to the public Sept. 17, and to ignite interest, there are several nonautomotive activities designed to draw families. That includes the "world's largest rubber duck," which is 61 feet high and weighs 30,000 pounds; a "Dinosaur and Off-Road Vehicle Encounter" featuring 80 recreations of dinosaurs; food trucks; an air show with electric aircraft; and the Flintmobile, a studio prop from the 1994 live-action version of The Flintstones.
The duck at least has a slight connection to the auto industry. The regular-sized rubber ducks have been the focus on a viral "duck, duck, Jeep" game played by fans of Stellantis NV's Jeep brand to connect with other Jeep drivers.
The Detroit show has moved to late summer from its traditional spot in January, a move that was already supposed to take place in 2020 when COVID-19 interrupted plans for two years.
Of course the shift from January to September isn't the biggest change facing major auto shows. The Geneva auto show — traditionally taking place in February — will instead be in November 2023 in Doha, Qatar. The Geneva International Motor Show Qatar moved from Switzerland due to unspecified "economic, geopolitical and pandemic-related concerns."