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Coronavirus: Detroit Auto Show Cancelled

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The coronavirus has claimed another victim, this time the Detroit Auto Show, also known as the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS). The event has been cancelled outright by its organizers.

At the stage the pandemic has reached and considering the number of victims worldwide, the news is not a surprise, nor is it all that devastating in the grand scheme of things given what populations all over the world are struggling with at present.

Still, for the auto industry it’s another major blow. It’s relevant as well because the site that was to host the NAIAS, the TCF Center, is currently being transformed into a temporary hospital.

The auto show was slated to take place at the end of June. What will be the state of things by that point of time? No one, but no one, can predict that. The hope of course is that things will have gotten back to some semblance of normality. But even if we were to see the situation improve tremendously in the next two months, the preparation time to set up the show would be too short, making it impossible for it to go ahead.

The sad irony for NAIAS organizers is that the event was moved this year, from January to June. Under the old schedule, the Detroit show would have taken place as planned at the beginning of this year. Instead, the event is scheduled for June 2021.

The Show becomes the fourth major automotive event to be cancelled or postponed in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, after the Geneva Motor Show (set for March), the New York Auto Show (April) and the Shanghai event (also in April). In the case of the New York Show, the end of August is currently the tentative date for its presentation. If that show does go on at that point, we’ll be celebrating the event as it will mean the worst of the pandemic has passed, for now.

“Although we are disappointed, there is nothing more important to us than the health, safety and well-being of the citizens of Detroit and Michigan, and we will do what we can to support our community’s fight against the coronavirus outbreak.”

- Rod Alberts, executive director of the NAIAS

As of now, Michigan has 5,486 of the 145,000+ confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States.

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