The chaos surrounding the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic has caused another domino to fall, with NAIAS officials in Detroit revealing that the 2020 North American International Auto Show has been cancelled due to FEMA officials potentially using the TCF center (formerly COBO Center) as a temporary field hospital.
The North American International Auto Show is the latest automotive event to be effected, and joins the New York Auto Show, Geneva Auto Show, and several key premieres being either postponed, switched to digital only events or cancelled outright due to the rapid spread of the Coronavirus. The Detroit Auto Show is one of the oldest and most prestigious auto shows on the circuit, and it was traditionally held every January. That was supposed to change for the 2020 event, with the show being held in June for the first time ever. The warmer temperatures also caused NAIAS designers to envision a far bigger event, with various exhibits, drive opportunities, and other festivities scheduled for areas beyond the confines of the TCF Center.
“Although we are disappointed, there is nothing more important to us than the health, safety and well-being of the citizens of Detroit and Michigan, and we will do what we can to support our community’s fight against the coronavirus outbreak,” NAIAS Executive Director Rod Alberts said in a statement.
Metro Detroit (this author’s home turf) has been hit hard by the Coronavirus, with Detroit in particular being hit the hardest. Cases here in Michigan have rapidly climbed over the past few weeks, and recently, it was revealed that Detroit Police Chief James Craig was confirmed to have the novel virus. With the rapidly changing situation in the state, the move to cancel the show was seen as an inevitability by some in the area, due to the sheer scope of the disease’s impact not only in the city of Detroit, but also in the broader Metro area. The cancellation of the show will undeniably be a key blow to the city’s restaurants which already had to weather the impact of the original date change, as well as an ongoing stay at home order that was recently issued by Governor Gretchen Whitmer.
“With the more than 100 convention centers and facilities around the country being considered to potentially serve as temporary hospitals, it became clear to us that TCF Center would be an inevitable option to serve as a care facility to satisfy our community’s urgent health needs,” he added.
But show organizers revealed that they have plans to bring back the show in June of 2021, with the original master blueprint being largely unchanged. As for the projected debuts that were supposed to take place at this event, it is currently unknown how they will proceed. FCA for example was rumored to have plans to bring both the 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee and the Ram Rebel TRX to Detroit, while the still to be formally unveiled Ford Bronco SUV was rumored to perhaps finally make its debut at NAIAS after prior attempts at unveiling it fell apart due to the Coronavirus outbreak.