Breaking: 2021 North American International Auto Show Canceled
The 2021 Detroit Auto Show has been canceled.
Originally set for summer, then pushed back to September due to COVID concerns, the show has now been binned completely. It’s unclear if that’s just for this year or permanently.
In its place will be a six-day event called “Motor Bella” that will take place in the Detroit suburb of Pontiac, at the M1 Grand Concourse private racetrack facility.
The name Motor Bella might sound familiar, as an event under that name was part of the original plans for September. The show was initially scheduled to take place between Sept. 28 and Oct. 9, with a “Motor Bella” listed for Sept. 24-26. Originally, Motor Bella was meant to showcase Italian and British classics and supercars.
Now the Detroit Auto Dealers Association, which runs the show, is billing Motor Bella as a “bridge to the future.”
The event is also being said to be hosting new-vehicle debuts. It’s implied that the outdoor venue is being chosen as an alternative to an indoor space.
“The pandemic has caused changes in our society and world in ways not previously imagined, and we all should be looking for new and highly creative ways of doing business,” said Executive Director Rod Alberts in a statement. “This new event captures that creative spirit. It will provide new mobility experiences and increasingly innovative approaches to tapping into the industry and its products. This all-outdoor venue, with adrenaline-pumping track activities and a full complement of OEM and technology exhibits, is going to offer the sights, sounds and even the smell of all that the new world of mobility has to offer.”
There will be press and industry preview days, with the main press day being scheduled for Sept. 21.
It’s unclear what the plans are for 2022 — your author has seen conflicting reports, and the show organizers haven’t said anything about next year. Nor is it clear if the move to ‘burbs is permanent or temporary — or if future shows will combine the use of facilities across the metro area.
The 2021 auto-show season will be a weird one since the pandemic continues unabated. The Chicago Auto Show has already canceled its February dates with a vague promise of moving to spring, while Los Angeles is scheduled for late May this year and New York is set for August. Needless to say, all of those shows are up in the air due to COVID concerns. Much likely depends on the vaccine rollout, as well.
“The pandemic has caused changes in our society and world in ways not previously imagined, and we all should be looking for new and highly creative ways of doing business,” said Executive Director Rod Alberts. “This new event captures that creative spirit. It will provide new mobility experiences and increasingly innovative approaches to tapping into the industry and its products.”
The phrase “bridge to the future” from the press release raises some eyebrows — does it mean the auto-show format will change in a post-COVID world? Even pre-pandemic, there were rumblings about the need for shows to change, especially in how media days are operated, thanks to how online unveilings have changed the industry.
“While auto shows remain an important platform to promote new mobility innovations and to help people make major vehicle purchase decisions, the traditional auto show model is changing,” Alberts said. “We cannot ignore the major disruptions caused by the pandemic and the impact it has had on budgets. As such, we will be providing an amazing experience to the media, the auto industry and the public in a cost-effective way.”
“We see this outdoor experience at M1 as a bridge to the future. One that will continue to evolve as we explore new ways of presenting mobility and as we navigate through these unprecedented times. We are very cognizant of the importance and impact our show and our events have on the state and the entire metro Detroit area. This will always be part of our considerations for the future,” Event chair Doug North said.
We’ll update you with new developments as needed.
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- Jeff S I don't believe gm will die but that it will continue to shrink in product and market share and it will probably be acquired by a foreign manufacturer. I doubt gm lacks funds as it did in 2008 and that they have more than enough cash at hand but gm will not expand as it did in the past and the emphasis is more on profitability and cutting costs to the bone. Making gm a more attractive takeover target and cut costs at the expense of more desirable and reliable products. At the time of Farago's article I was in favor of the Government bailout more to save jobs and suppliers but today I would not be in favor of the bailout. My opinions on gm have changed since 2008 and 2009 and now I really don't care if gm survives or not.
- Kwik_Shift I was a GM fan boy until it ended in 2013 when I traded in my Avalanche to go over to Nissan.
- Stuart de Baker I didn't bother to read this article. I'll wait until a definitive headline comes out, and I'll be surprised if Tesla actually produces the Cybertruck. It certainly looks impractical for both snowy and hot sunny weather.
- Stuart de Baker This is very interesting information. I was in no danger of buying a Tesla. I love my '08 Civic (stick), and it feels just as responsive as when I bought it 11 years ago with 35k on the clock (now 151k), and barring mishaps, I plan to keep it for the next 25 years or so, which would put me into my mid-90s, assuming I live that long. On your information, I will avoid renting Teslas.
- RHD The only people who would buy this would be those convinced by a website that they are great, and order one sight-unseen. They would have to have be completely out of touch with every form of media for the last year. There might actually be a few of these people, but not very many. They would also have to be completely ignorant of the Hyundai Excel. (Vinfast seems to make the original Excel look like a Camry in comparison.)
Agree there is no going back to normal and this could be the harbinger of things to come since more things are going to the virtual world. More and more shopping is done online. Indoor shopping malls have been dying for the past 20 years. Buying cars will change as more and more buying will be done online. For the most part there is a lot less excitement about new car releases with the exception of the Mustang Mach E, the Bronco, the Cyber Truck, and the C8 Corvette. Even what we wear has become more relaxed and casual since many of us are working from home.
Meh. I haven't been to an auto show in decades. From my recollection, the really interesting vehicles were cordoned off from the public. The slightly less interesting ones had people lined up to sit in them. I'm not waiting in line to sit in a car.