Detroit auto show canceled for 2021, to be replaced by outdoor event
A look at the vehicles on the floor of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, on Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019. (Melanie Borrelli / CTV Windsor)
DETROIT -- Detroit’s big auto show will not take place as scheduled in September, but will be replaced by an outdoor exhibit at a race track in nearby Pontiac.
Show organizers on Monday cited worries that the coronavirus pandemic could affect the indoor show, normally held at Detroit’s downtown convention center.
The new event scheduled for Sept. 21 through 26 is being called Motor Bella. It will take place at the M1 Concourse, which has the track and room for 1.6 million square feet of display space.
Brent Snavely, spokesman for the North American International Auto Show, said organizers still have reserved the downtown TCF Center for the fall of 2022 and 2023.
“Will NAIAS return in 2022? We’re hopeful, optimistic. That’s what we would want,” he said. “It’s hard to predict the future.”
Show Executive Director Rod Alperts said they had to look for new and creative ways of doing business. The show will have track activities, mobility exhibits and a full complement of automaker and technology displays, he said.
Auto shows have been struggling to retain their relevance at a time when companies can unveil new vehicles online without having to share the day with others.
“While auto shows remain an important platform to promote new mobility innovations and help people make major vehicle purchase decisions, the traditional auto show model is changing,” Alberts said.