The future of auto shows looks bleak in 2021.
After the 2020 auto show calendar was cut short due to the pandemic, we were looking forward to getting back to in-person events in 2021. The 2021 Chicago Auto Show went off without a hitch in a condensed format, but the same may not be true for the 2021 New York Auto Show, scheduled to begin in two weeks on August 20. After rescheduling the event last year and reconfirming the timing just a few months ago, we believed the New York Auto Show was a forgone conclusion.
We hadn't heard an official statement until moments ago, but sources close to the show have been telling CarBuzz all morning that the event is cancelled. Now we have the news from NYIAS itself. The organizers cite the rise in Covid-19 cases, specially the more contagious Delta variant, as the main concern for canceling the show. The next New York Auto Show is planned in April 2022.
With just over two weeks until the media day, this year's New York auto show was shaping up to be full of big vehicle reveals. The 2022 Hyundai Elantra N was going to make its North American debut, Subaru planned to reveal the next-generation WRX, Nissan was showing its all-new Z sports car, and Genesis would present its new electric model, the GV60. Though these models will not gather together in one convention center, we suspect each individual automaker will still host private events to reveal these vehicles to attending media.
With New York cancelled, we wonder if other auto shows might meet a similar fate. The Detroit auto show was set to be replaced with an outdoor event called Motor Bella at the M1 Concourse in September. The outdoor venue may keep Motor Bella safe with a lower risk for disease transmission. At the end of November, the Los Angeles Auto Show would have ended the 2021 show calendar, but with cases spiking due to unvaccinated individuals in LA county, this event may also be at risk.