By on December 7, 2020

The 2021 Chicago Auto Show will be delayed until sometime in the spring of 2021 because of the COVID-19 epidemic that has forced the entire world to pretty much cancel everything. Of course, we didn’t need to tell you that because the pandemic has been the default reason or excuse (depending on the situation) for literally every decision that has taken place in 2020.

Originally scheduled to be held between February 13th and 21st, the event will now be held sometime in the spring. The Chicago Auto Show’s official website has been updated to represent the change but lacks any specifics that might help people actually plan a trip to the venue. It only reads “Spring 2021” before listing the address and ticket prices, requiring some clarification from organizers.

Health concerns cancelled practically every sizable trade show in 2020 and the few that persisted became virtual events nobody bothered with. Meanwhile, organizers have massively rejiggered shows scheduled for 2021. The Los Angeles Auto Show has been rescheduled for late May (potentially creating conflict with Chicago, though Chicago organizers say they want to work around the dates for other shows), while the New York International Auto Show shifted to August and Detroit’s North American International Auto Show is now taking place in September.

The reasoning is often the same. Organizers and vendors don’t know if states will end up enforcing strict lockdown protocols and are understandably wary of commitment.

“At this point, with the recent increase in [COVID-19] cases, it doesn’t look like February is realistic,” Mark Bilek, senior director of communications and technology for the Chicago Auto Show, to Automotive News in a statement. “So we wanted to make sure that we let people know that we’re still very excited about trying to have a show in spring of 2021, at some point, be it in March, April or May.”

“We didn’t want to throw a date out there and then have to move it again,” he continued. “So we’re just, at this point, kind of in a holding pattern. And of course, being respectful of other major shows like New York and L.A. that have already announced dates. We obviously wouldn’t want to conflict with those. So we’ll work to make sure that we find an open spot on the calendar to host a safe and responsible Chicago Auto Show.”

When we reached out for clarification, organizers wanted to make doubly sure that we understood nothing had been established yet. The spring date is simply a placeholder while they work with the city of Chicago and state of Illinois to determine when it might be able to hold the public event without running into trouble. A proposal has been submitted, however, and they’re reportedly waiting on approvals.

[Images: Chicago Auto Show]

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

19 Comments on “Chicago Auto Show Delayed Until ‘Spring’...”

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    No chance for Spring. Maybe late Summer, or Fall.

    One big issue will be whether public venues should open when there remains widespread doubt about the vaccines. A new form of anti-vaxers will develop – people who legitimately think waiting is prudent, combined with people who think the vaccines will inject a liberal/communist chip into your brain.

    Will there be a nationwide card-check system that allows only ‘clean’ people into public venues? That sort of policy will be challenged in court, because everyone has a God-given Constitutional right to be sick, get sick, and to infect everyone around them. /s

    So despite the appearance of vaccines, I don’t see any smooth return to mass gatherings for a very, very long time.

    • 0 avatar

      Good question. I’d feel pretty safe at a large outdoor gathering, like a baseball game, as long as some kind of distancing was being enforced. Until the vaccines are widely administered, I’m iffy on large-scale indoor gatherings where I’m elbow-to-elbow with other people (movies, crowded bars, etc).

      And car shows, which combine large indoor crowds, plus the added bonus of being inside a car with four other people I don’t know…and the car’s been full of other folks I don’t know eight hours a day, five days a week? Hard pass.

      • 0 avatar

        I don’t think we’ll see large venues open until late summer or fall. Best case is early summer. In the spring, they’d only be able to admit frontline healthcare workers and nursing home residents.

    • 0 avatar

      We’ve always been at war with Eastasia.

    • 0 avatar

      “people who legitimately think waiting is prudent”

      An entirely new kind of technology (MRNA) developed with all conventional testing and safety protocols removed, with all manufacturers given blanket immunity, for a type of disease which has never had a successful “vaccine” to counter a virus which at most has been in the field for 12-15 months?

      My good sir, please go ahead and show us the way. I’ll be way in the back observing the alpha testing.

      • 0 avatar
        SCE to AUX

        Alpha testing has already been done (in Pfizer’s case) on 30,000 people covering the spectra of age, gender, race, and pre-existing conditions.

        These vaccines aren’t going straight from a computer screen into somebody’s arm.

        • 0 avatar

          30,000 < 330,000,000 Americans.

          Sign me up!

          • 0 avatar
            SCE to AUX

            There is such a thing called “statistical significance” when performing surveys and technical testing.

            Despite our snowflake culture, among 30,000 people there is probably someone who is medically identical to you. This builds confidence in the research.

            The only ingredient they can’t really manipulate is time. It works with engineering HALT testing, but not so much with biology.

      • 0 avatar
        el scotto

        @28-Cars-Later Sir, the Brits are our kinda-sorta our alpha testers. The NHS accepts the word/testing of the pharmaceutical companies. Send out some bad medicine; not the Bon Jovi type, and the NHS stops buying/using your brand new drug. Those crazy socialists. In the US, we believe the pharmaceutical companies may be trying to pull a fast one and have the FDA run their own test. Even with regulation and oversight, bad drugs slip through (anal seepage) and helpful drugs are over-prescribed,opioid crisis.

  • avatar

    You really didn’t want to go to Chicago in the winter did you?

  • avatar

    “nationwide card-check system that allows only ‘clean’ people into public venues”

    These recent developments smack of fascism. Of course these rules will not apply to billionaire oligarchs and their bought lock, stock and barrel puppets in US and state governments.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Well, the virus won’t honor the billionaires or their political bent. Flaunt the rules at your own peril.

      I’ll take the vaccine when I can. I have no interest in having weeks of coughing up blood, gasping for air, fever, GI issues, muscle weakness, fuzzy brain, kidney, heart, other organ side effects, or death. These things are real, often persistent, they’ve happened through four seasons, and they’ve happened to people I know.

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    Houston’s Auto Show, normally in January, has been postponed as well. It seems a lifetime ago when my brother and I went to this year’s, right before COVID hit. In our new “norm”, I wonder once up and running and “safe” how attractive these shows will be for the manufacturers (huge expense) and show goers (fewer vehicles). 20 years ago I would be at the Houston show 2-3 days total to drink in all the details. These past few years you could get through it thoroughly in 4-5 hours. It’s obviously a dying format.

  • avatar



  • avatar

    In the future, you can test-drive all the vehicles at the auto show indoors, either on the road course or the off-road course. (With little noise and no fumes.)

  • avatar
    C5 is Alive

    Yesterday, organizers cancelled the Paris Air Show that had been planned for June 21-27. The event (“the largest air show and aerospace-industry exhibition event in the world” – Wikipedia) takes place mostly outdoors and dwarfs any auto show by several orders of magnitude in the amount of money on the ground.

    We’ll be lucky if any sizable in-person trade event occurs before August. What an utter CF.

Read all comments

Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • mcs: @Garak: It would also be good for search and rescue. In a search, with a gas model, the noise could drown out...
  • Garak: I could see quite a few places where you’d might want an electric model. Countries with expensive gas,...
  • DungBeetle62: Don’t know whose apple my Dad polished but in the early 80s after a parade of awful Cutlasses...
  • JD-Shifty: lowest gas prices were under Clinton. But that’s none of my business. We’ve seen wild price...
  • Buickman: anyone notice AutoNews has eliminated their comment section?

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Who We Are

  • Adam Tonge
  • Bozi Tatarevic
  • Corey Lewis
  • Jo Borras
  • Mark Baruth
  • Ronnie Schreiber