2020 is officially the worst year for car shows, ever.
In many parts of the globe, the coronavirus pandemic is still wreaking havoc, and here in the US, it's just claimed yet another auto show casualty: the 2020 SEMA Show in Las Vegas, Nevada. This despite an update just last month saying the show was still on track.
The annual event, which is put on by the US Specialty Equipment Market Association, is well-known as the country's premier event for whacky, one-off custom show cars and tuner's delights like the Toyota GR Supra, and it regularly draws crowds well in excess of 100,000 people. Last year's show featured some 2,300 exhibitors, from OEMs to aftermarket parts companies to manufacturers of accessories and car care products, and was attended by an estimated 162,000 people.
Many in the industry had hoped that the SEMA Show, which is held around late-October or early-November, was scheduled for a time long enough after the US's initial outbreak that it would be spared by the pandemic. But despite comprehensive statewide shutdowns across the country and continuing efforts to limit the virus's spread by mandating or otherwise encouraging mask usage in public spaces, US case counts are actually on the rise.
In a statement, the Specialty Equipment Market Association blamed the show's cancellation on "concerns that event facilities and services will be unavailable," saying that "mounting uncertainty has rendered continuing with the event inadvisable."
"We appreciate the spirit, hard work and innovation our industry puts into the SEMA Show each year," says SEMA President and CEO Chris Kersting. "While we are disappointed circumstances prevent us from hosting the Show in November, we look forward to getting everyone together in 2021 for another outstanding event."
However, there's still hope for something resembling a SEMA Show in 2020, as the organization noted some interest among exhibitors in a "virtual tradeshow with related live elements," whatever, precisely, that means. So while you won't be able to see any daring, bespoke Chevrolet Corvette C8 or 2021 Ford Bronco show cars in person, you might at least be able to enjoy them on your laptop or tablet. We'll take it.