The 2013 Detroit auto show, officially known as NAIAS, kicks off January 14, with US carmakers enjoying strong sales momentum and an improved domestic outlook.

The most important annual US automotive event starts with two press days - Jan 14 and 15 - followed by an industry preview on Jan 16 and 17. After the traditional Charity Preview on the 18th, the show opens to the general public Jan 19 and closes its doors again on the 27th.

NAIAS organizers say the 2013 gathering, which will feature more than 500 vehicles on display, will see the return of Jaguar and Land Rover as well as Chinese carmaker Guangzhou Automobile Group.

It takes place against a backdrop of sharply improved performance for US automakers General Motors, Ford and Chrysler. GM's US unit sales were up 3.6 pc in the first 10 months of 2012. Ford's US sales were steady, but its important small-car sales jumped 54 pc. And Chrysler posted a 23 pc jump in 10-month sales.

The show is held a week later than usual, which is because organizers don't want it to take place too close to the Christmas and New Year's holidays.

"Each year our dates move up one day on the calendar so every five or six years, we need to make an adjustment and push the show back one week," said NAIAS Chairman Jim Seavitt. "We do our best to keep some distance between the holidays and our opening, and many people have expressed appreciation for that."

The 2013 show will also see some changes to Cobo Center in downtown Detroit, where the exhibition is held each year. Cobo will have a new three-story glass atrium where several automotive events are scheduled to take place.

In 2012, the Detroit auto show featured 42 vehicle debuts and 38 of these were world premieres. More than 770,000 people visited the show.