By on August 21, 2020

The 2021 Washington, D.C. Auto Show has been postponed to buy organizers time to prepare for a virus everyone has known about since the start of 2020.

“We believe this scheduling change is in the best interests of our attendees, our partnering auto manufacturers, and the District of Columbia,” Washington, D.C. Auto Show CEO John O’Donnell said in a release on Friday. “Our top priority is to ensure the safety of all involved in this show, and we believe strongly that a two-month delay will better allow us to produce the type of well-rounded and immersive show that our attendees are accustomed to.”

Originally scheduled to open on January 29th, the motor show will now take place between March 26th and April 4th. That’s assuming the event isn’t outright cancelled, anyway. That’s been the trend for automotive trade shows and most major events since we decided “15 Days to Slow the Spread” would just reset at the end of the second week and COVID-19 became Schrödinger’s Virus thanks to some of the least consistent reporting in modern history.

At this stage, its primarily large cities and a smattering of extra-cautious states that continue pushing the most aggressive preventative measures. And metropolitan areas tend to be the places were events go down, forcing organizers to enact delays or simply shut them down. But it has become tiresome, especially since event planners have had months to prepare and don’t have many excuses beyond thinking this would have blown over by 2021.

The previous Washington Auto Show actually took place during the pandemic’s opening moves (Jan. 29-Feb. 7) with some of the highest attendance figures ever recorded, though that happened while the country was having political arguments about whether health-related travel restrictions with China were prudent or racist.

Still, we have to cut Washington a little slack. Despite the widespread politicization of the pandemic, valid health concerns remain and nobody wants their event to be accused of ramping up contagion rates. But the announcement never really addressed any specific measure the indoor event will take to curb infection — making it seem as if they’re just biding their time before deciding if a cancellation is in order.

The Washington, D.C. Auto Show’s organizers say they are working “on a robust health and safety plan that will prioritize consumer and staff safety and cleanliness, while reflecting the best practices and guidelines that remain in effect in late March of 2021.” So, basically whatever the city stipulates has to be done 7 months from now. An update on that, as well as the event’s general program, will be issued in “the coming months.”

Acura, Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Ford, GMC, Jeep, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Lexus, Lincoln, Nissan, Ram, Subaru, Toyota and Volkswagen have all reserved display areas at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. There’s a chance some might pull out if they feel the risk is too great, or that the masses will just end up staying home.

[Image: Washington Auto Show]

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5 Comments on “2021 Washington Auto Show Pushed Back to March...”

  • avatar

    here’s a scandal:

    Confidential agreement uncovered allowed Pa. car show to happen despite COVID-19 restrictions

    Updated: August 19, 2020 – 4:08 PM
    CARLISLE, Pa. — Channel 11 has obtained a secret agreement that shows the health secretary allowed a car show near Harrisburg to go on allowing 20,000 people in per day.

    Reporter Amy Marcinkiewicz broke the story Monday. She got a copy of the secret agreement on Tuesday and is getting reaction from lawmakers who had no idea this happened.

    Two of the three lawmakers that Channel 11 talked with had not even heard of this secret agreement until we told them about it. “Outrageous,” “ridiculous,” and “not fair” were just some of the words they used to describe it.

    Content Continues Below
    Butler county leaders say this is about much more than a car show on the other side of the state. They say a confidential deal cut last month between the health department and a huge outdoor event allowing 20,000 people in per day shows hypocrisy and favoritism during a pandemic.

    — Amy Marcinkiewicz (@WPXIAmy) August 20, 2020….

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    “Acura, Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Ford, GMC, Jeep, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Lexus, Lincoln, Nissan, Ram, Subaru, Toyota and Volkswagen have all reserved display areas at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.”

    Why? Auto shows exist for the local businesses to generate revenue; the utility of the show for the patrons is secondary. All of these mfrs would be hard-pressed to show a link between sales and auto shows – Covid or no Covid.

    • 0 avatar

      My understanding (not an expert):

      • The larger “Tier 1” auto shows [with new model introductions/etc.] are primarily intended to drive national press coverage. (Increasingly, there are other ways of doing this at lower cost.)

      • The smaller regional auto shows [*much* less expensive] are primarily intended to gather sales leads. The OEM’s can and do track sales leads from regional auto shows, and can tell whether they are effective or not.

      One perspective:

      “American Honda attends 64 auto shows in the U.S. each year”

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    My buddy and I would usually try to go every year. He lives a couple blocks from the convention center so it was a long trip for me to get to his place but a short walk from there.
    I don’t know anymore – I see enough crossovers on the road, I don’t really need to go see some indoors, let alone pay for the privilege.

    Let me know when coupes and sedans come back en vogue.

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    I can honestly say that I saw a Chrysler Lebaron at the last car show I attended. It has been a while.

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