Detroit Motor Show (NAIAS) cancelled due to Covid-19

The 2020 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit, also known simply as the Detroit Motor Show, has been cancelled. Originally scheduled for June – the first time NAIAS is taking a mid-year slot instead of the usual January – the show’s venue will instead be a field hospital for those infected by the coronavirus.

The US Federal Emergency Management Agency has designated the TCF Center as a field hospital for Covid-19 cases for at least six months. The US is now ahead of China and Italy in coronavirus positive cases and Michigan – the state where Detroit is in – currently has 5,486 cases with 132 deaths. For context, Malaysia has 2,470 cases and 34 deaths (as of yesterday evening’s daily KKM briefing).

The cancellation of the 2020 show and NAIAS returning in 2021 was informed to show sponsors in a memo from organisers on Saturday, reported by the Detroit Free Press. “The health and welfare of the citizens of Detroit and Michigan is paramount. TCF Center is the ideal location for this important function at this critical and unprecedented time,” NAIAS executive director Rod Alberts said in the memo.

Detroit Motor Show (NAIAS) cancelled due to Covid-19

The reason that organisers Detroit Auto Dealers Association moved the usually wintery January show to the summer was to so it could offer outdoor events along the riverfront, including test drives, demonstrations of self-driving cars and other new tech, plus the Motor Bella, a pre-show street festival of English and Italian cars in downtown Detroit. All that will be carried forward to the 2021 show.

The Free Press said that even before news of the TCF Center being repurposed came about, NAIAS 2020 was becoming increasingly unfeasible considering an economy weakened by Covid-19. With the US and the rest of the world being gripped by the coronavirus crisis, there was reason to wonder if the public would be considering big purchases, or have interest in carmakers introducing fancy new vehicles, it asked.

Detroit isn’t the first big motor show to be scrapped this year. It follows the cancellation/postponement of the New York, Beijing and Geneva shows, the latter very abruptly.