COVID-19 pandemic forcing the host venue to become a field hospital.
Another major international auto show has become the latest victim of the coronavirus pandemic. Like Geneva and New York before it, the 2020 Detroit Auto Show, also known as the North American International Auto Show, has officially been canceled. Unlike the New York Auto Show, originally scheduled for April but has been postponed until August, Detroit is being canceled outright this year. It will return in June 2021. One of this year's potential Detroit debuts was the next-generation Ford F-150.
The reason why the decision to cancel Detroit has already been made is that the venue, the TFT Center, formerly known as Cobo Center, has been designated as a field hospital by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. It will now be handling COVID-19 cases for at least the next six months.
"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 an official statement. "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.
With this year's show now canceled, this also means Detroit will be going a full two-and-a-half years without its auto show. Up until 2019, the event was annually held in the icy cold winter month of January but due to record-low attendance in recent years, organizers decided to reschedule it to June was necessary.
This would also allow for numerous outdoor events such as mobility and other related technology displays and demonstrations. Even prior to today's announcement, the chances of this year's show still proceeding as planned were looking grimmer by the day. Even New York's Javits Center, where its auto show is held, is being repurposed as a field hospital and is scheduled to open any day now.
But the Detroit show's cancelation will hurt the city far more than New York's lack of a show. The Motor City genuinely relies upon the event for tourism, restaurants, and other related events. Sadly, none of that will be happening this year.