DETROIT — The 2020 Detroit Auto Show, scheduled for June, was canceled Saturday, and its venue will be converted into a field hospital as the coronavirus pandemic increasingly devastates Michigan.
The Detroit show, officially known as the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS), is one of the oldest and most prestigious auto shows in the world. Traditionally held in January, this year was the first time the show was to have been held in June, as organizers shifted dates amid competition from other shows.
The coronavirus has already forced organizers to cancel the Geneva Motor Show earlier this year in Switzerland. The New York Auto Show, scheduled for April, was postponed. Its venue, the Javits Center, will be repurposed as a field hospital that's expected to open Monday.
"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,” NAIAS Executive Director Rod Alberts said in a statement.
“With the more than 100 convention centers and facilities around the country being considered to potentially serve as temporary hospitals, it became clear to us that TCF Center would be an inevitable option to serve as a care facility to satisfy our community’s urgent health needs,” he said.
The Detroit show has been held at the TFC Center, formerly known as Cobo Center, for decades. It will be held next in June 2021, organizers say. The move to June was part of an ambitious plan to remake the show with outdoor events, test drives and other activities. With the cancellation of the 2020 show, Detroit will go more than two-and-a-half years without one of its signature events, as the last one was held in January 2019.