Like most automotive events scheduled to take place in 2020, the North American International Auto Show was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The TCF Center, where the show is normally held, was instead converted into a field hospital for coronavirus patients. Now, organizers have announced that the 2021 Detroit Auto Show has also been canceled, but will apparently live on in a very different form this coming fall.
The 2021 Detroit Auto Show will be replaced with what organizers are calling Motor Bella, which will be held at the 87-acre M1 Concourse in Pontiac, Michigan. The new event will take place on September 21st-26th, but is only open to the public from September 23rd-26th. Motor Bella will take place entirely outdoors, which should help mitigate COVD-19 concerns, while the 1.5-mile track will be used for vehicle demonstrations.
Auto shows, in general, were facing an uncertain future even before the pandemic, and NAIAS organizers are referring to Motor Bellas a “bridge to the future” that “will bring next-generation mobility and exciting vehicle debuts to media, show-goers, and the automotive enthusiasts’ world in a never before experienced way.”
The event will consist of 1.6 million square feet of display space, including terrain used for off-road vehicle demos in addition to the on-track performance displays. “This all-outdoor venue, with adrenaline-pumping track activities and a full complement of OEM and technology exhibits, is going to offer the sights, sounds, and even the smell of all that the new world of mobility has to offer,” said Motor Bella Executive Director Rod Alberts.
Today we announced we will not hold the 2021 auto show as planned, but instead revealed a “bridge to the future” with an all-new show called Motor Bella. Read more: https://t.co/dEyelNAhtu pic.twitter.com/9OpWQP3bEX
— Detroit Auto Show (@NAIASDetroit) January 11, 2021
“We see this outdoor experience at M1 as a bridge to the future,” added Event Chairman Doug North. “One that will continue to evolve as we explore new ways of presenting mobility and as we navigate through these unprecedented times. We are very cognizant of the importance and impact our show and our events have on the state and the entire metro Detroit area. This will always be part of our considerations for the future.”