Detroit — Following numerous reschedulings due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Detroit auto show planned for this September has been canceled, organizers said Monday.
The show will be replaced this year by an enthusiast-focused event at a racetrack north of Detroit in Pontiac, Mich.
Organizers anticipate having vehicle reveals and other events that typically take place at a traditional auto show at the racetrack. It was unclear whether the change in event format would be permanent or if organizers would return to a more traditional auto show in the fall of 2022.
The Detroit Auto Dealers Association, which runs the show, said it would host a reimagined version of its "Motor Bella" concept at the M1 Concourse in Pontiac Sept. 21-26 featuring 1.6 million square feet of dynamic vehicle and technology display space. Organizers say the site also offers a 1.5-mile hot track on the grounds for technology and vehicle demonstrations.
Motor Bella was originally envisioned as a festival of European supercars to take place alongside the auto show in downtown Detroit.
"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 Detroit auto show, which has not been held since January 2019, has changed dates multiple times. The event was supposed to move from January to June of 2020, but was canceled due to the pandemic and rescheduled for June 2021. Organizers later re-scheduled it for the fall of 2021.
"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."
The Motor Bella event will include a press preview on Sept. 21; an AutoMobili-D showcase Sept. 21-23; industry preview days Sept. 22 and 23rd; and a public show Sept. 23-26. Organizers said a charity event is also in the works.