Auto shows all over the globe have been cancelling, rescheduling and ultimately pretty much cancelling altogether for nearly a full year now with the latest to move their show dates being the Los Angeles Auto Show.
The show, normally held in November, is officially moving to a date six months later. Originally set for Nov. 20-29, it’s now scheduled for May 21-31, 2021. The press days, known as AutoMobility LA, will cover the two days prior to the public opening, so May 19-20.
“We are appreciative for the continued support from the L.A. Convention Center, the City of Los Angeles and all of our automotive partners,” said Lisa Kaz, CEO of the L.A. Auto Show. “Memorial Day Weekend is a fantastic time for enhanced outdoor activations and product debuts. The L.A. weather creates exciting new opportunities for a spring show.”
It’s tough to not be sympathetic to the plight of the show’s organizers, but the move to a spring date causes problems for other shows during that time frame. In fact, Kaz’s quotes could almost been pulled from Detroit Auto Show’s leadership team, who moved the long-time January-based show to mid-June because the original show dates were close to the L.A. show when held in its usual November time slot and the Consumer Electronics Show, better known as CES, in early January.
Detroit show organizers picked that date for a variety of reasons: the weather, the Detroit Grand Prix held that month as well as the Woodward Dream Cruise, providing for a solid month of automotive events for journalists and automotive fans to flock to.
The next NAIAS show – assuming it does occur – with be the first one in more than two years in the Motor City after the initial 18-month wait for the first June event, which was then cancelled. The Detroit show is current scheduled for June 11-26, 2021.
Detroit isn’t the only show that the L.A. shows new dates impacts. The New York International Auto Show, which was cancelled last year, is set to run April 2–11, 2021. This means that there’s little to no breathing room for automakers and auto industry fans during the spring season.
The impact of the switch on the Chicago Auto Show, which is held in middle February, is much more difficult to predict but the new dates for the L.A. show almost seem like a declaration of war against the NY and Detroit shows, which have already been forced to cancel once already.
The move also has the potential to upset an already delicate dance all auto shows were being forced to do prior to the coronavirus pandemic. Shows have already seen automakers leaving en masse – the Frankfurt Motor Show once the largest in the world being cancelled entirely – while attendance has fallen as well.
The shift causes potential problems for the automakers that do remain to find a way to capture and keep the spotlight with new product introductions, fearing they will float off in the ether less than four weeks later with the next auto show looming on the very near horizon. Could it spur even furth defection among automakers that have seemingly enjoyed success using the very curated online introductions that have become common during the pandemic.