The 2021 Detroit auto show has been canceled, and will be replaced by a new all-outdoor event called Motor Bella, organizers announced in a press release Monday.
A reimagined North American International Auto Show (NAIAS), as the Detroit auto show is formally known, was originally planned for June 2020, moving from the traditional January date. Organizers then pushed the show back to September 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic. Now they're planning an entirely different kind of event.
"We cannot ignore the major disruptions caused by the pandemic and the impact it has had on budgets," Motor Bella executive director Rod Alberts said in a statement. "As such, we will be providing an amazing experience to the media, the auto industry, and the public in a cost-effective way."
Detroit auto show logo
Motor Bella was originally intended to be a standalone event for British and Italian supercars and classic cars held alongside the Detroit auto show, but it will now pivot to focus on more traditional auto-show fare in an outdoor setting, according to organizers.
The venue will be the M1 Concourse facility in Pontiac, Michigan, just outside Detroit. The 87-acre site includes a 1.5-mile racetrack. 2.5-acre skidpad, and an off-road course, which will be used for vehicle and technology demonstrations during Motor Bella. That's not possible at a traditional auto show, the Motor Bella release noted. However, another reason for the change might be that the outdoor environment allows for more-robust social distancing measures than the traditional indoor NAIAS format, in case the pandemic is still going on in September.
The pandemic effectively eliminated the 2020 auto show season, striking in Europe as setup for the 2020 Geneva auto show was underway. The 2021 Geneva show has been canceled completely, while other auto shows are looking to reschedule for later in 2021.