The carnage of car shows continues as the Detroit Auto Dealers Association, which organizes the North American International Auto Show, cancelled this year’s event.
The show, which was last held in 2019, has been cancelled and rescheduled multiple times due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, instead of shutting the entire event down, the group is scaling it back to make it a more enthusiast-focused show at the M1 Concourse, a private racetrack north of Detroit.
Describing it as a “bridge to the future,” the new event is called the Motor Bella and will be held Sept. 21-26 at the 87-acre racetrack and vehicle storage facility. It will allow exhibitors to showcase vehicles outdoors while more easily enforcing safety procedures for the pandemic. They plan to a more traditional type of auto show in 2022.
The event will feature 1.6 million square feet of dynamic vehicle and technology display space, plus a 1.5-mile hot track on the grounds for technology and vehicle demonstrations. Originally envisioned as an event to take place alongside the auto show in downtown Detroit, it will now become the primary show.
“The pandemic has caused changes in our society and world in ways not previously imagined, and we all should be looking for new and highly creative ways of doing business,” DADA Executive Director Rod Alberts said in a statement.
“This new event captures that creative spirit. It will provide new mobility experiences and increasingly innovative approaches to tapping into the industry and its products.”
The Motor Bella schedule, which will include a charitable component like the original NAIAS and its black-tie charity preview, is:
- Press Preview, Tuesday, Sept. 21
- AutoMobili-D, Tuesday, Sept. 21 through a half-day Thursday, Sept. 23
- Industry Preview, Wednesday, Sept. 22 and a half-day Thursday, Sept. 23
- Public Show, Thursday, Sept. 23 through Sunday, Sept. 26
Not the only auto show to be cancelled in the wake of the pandemic, the Detroit show has been particularly hard hit because it was already in the midst of moving to a new date.
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.
“With our new program for 2021, we will take the Motor Bella concept to the next level with multiple brands and mobilities represented, from hometown to international nameplates, autonomous vehicles to high-performance supercars and everything in between,” Doug North, the event’s chairman said in a statement.
“It will be a mobility-filled event. One that will provide our show partners with a cost-efficient backdrop to share all of their brands, products and technologies in a fun and festival-like atmosphere that’s completely outdoors.”