A rendering of the 2021 North American International Auto Show reveals a new feature: a chance for visitors to test drive new vehicles. It will now be a fall show.

The North American International Auto Show for 2021 is moving from its projected June date to now late September in what organizers are calling a “reimagined indoor and outdoor show.”

Public days for the show will now be Sept. 28 – Oct. 9, 2021 with the media preview and other events actually kicking off Sept. 24. Organizers say the NAIAS will be a “fall show going forward.” When it finally opens, it will be 2.5 years between Detroit auto shows.

The annual event was previously held in early January, but due to competition with other auto shows and the Consumer Electronics Show held just prior, organizers elected to move the event to mid-June to give themselves some breathing room while coinciding with a slew of other auto-related events in the Detroit area during that time like the Detroit Grand Prix and the Woodward Dream Cruise.

(“Whichever way is necessary,” the Detroit Auto Show will be back in 2021, organizers say.)

Detroit Auto Dealers Associate Director Rod Alberts and NAIAS Chair Doug North said the “new” 2021 show will have the same events as the June event would have.

There were some who were unhappy with those new show dates, although grumbling was kept to a minimum. However, the auto show schedule has been thrown into chaos due to the COVID-19 pandemic and shows have been shifting to new dates or cancelling altogether as everyone tries to make due the best they can.

“We have talked with many of our partners, particularly the OEMs, and they are fully on board and excited about the date change,” NAIAS Executive Director Rod Alberts said in a statement.

That uncertainty apparently provided some time for reflection — and change. NAIAS officials say the show “is teed up to be a global powerhouse of current product and next-generation mobility combined with immersive brand activations and product engagement for both the international media and the public.”

(Automakers delay product launches in wake of pandemic.)

Show organizers appear resolute in their desire to keep the fall time slot, securing the TCF Center for the next three years. NAIAS organizers secured dates towards the end of the month, in part, to be mindful of the new IAA in Munich, which is scheduled for the first full week in September.

Virtually all automotive events worldwide have been affected by the pandemic. The first summer NAIAS was also cancelled.

“Our responsibility as an auto show is to host a global stage for current products as well as mobility innovations of tomorrow,” Alberts said. “September is an excellent time of year for new product, and at the same time, alleviates the challenges a now crowded spring auto show calendar presents for auto show stakeholders.”

“Spreading out major auto shows is a win for everyone, particularly our partners. It gives auto companies an opportunity to give it their best at each and every show, which creates excitement for those who attend, too,” Alberts said.

(TCF Center converted to emergency hospital. 2020 Detroit Auto Show canceled.)

The show will include the same product experiences planned for the June show, including dynamic displays and experiential ride-and-drives. The NAIAS campus will include product and technology activations both inside TCF Center and in other parts of the city. NAIAS will continue to host seven unique shows in one: Motor Bella, The Gallery, Press Preview, AutoMobili-D, Industry Preview, Charity Preview and Public Show.

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