Detroit auto show to be replaced by outdoor event this year

A portion of the Ford exhibit area is shown at the 2017 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) on January 10, 2017 in Detroit, Michigan.
A portion of the Ford exhibit area is shown at the 2017 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) on January 10, 2017 in Detroit, Michigan.

Credit: Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

Credit: Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

DETROIT — Detroit’s big auto show will not take place as scheduled in September, but will be replaced by an outdoor exhibit at a race track in nearby Pontiac.

Show organizers have cited worries that the coronavirus pandemic could affect the indoor show, normally held at Detroit’s downtown convention center.

The new event scheduled for Sept. 21 through 26 is being called Motor Bella. It will take place at the M1 Concourse, which has the track and room for 1.6 million square feet of display space.

Brent Snavely, spokesman for the North American International Auto Show, said organizers still have reserved the downtown TCF Center for the fall of 2022 and 2023.

“Will NAIAS return in 2022? We’re hopeful, optimistic. That’s what we would want,” he said. “It’s hard to predict the future.”

Show Executive Director Rod Alperts said they had to look for new and creative ways of doing business. The show will have track activities, mobility exhibits and a full complement of automaker and technology displays, he said.

Auto shows have been struggling to retain their relevance at a time when companies can unveil new vehicles online without having to share the day with others.

“While auto shows remain an important platform to promote new mobility innovations and help people make major vehicle purchase decisions, the traditional auto show model is changing,” Alberts said.

‘Auto Trends’ to air a traditional 2021 Auto Show Preview on WCSU 88.9 FM

While Covid-19 might have put the brakes on Detroit, Chicago and New York from kicking off the auto show season, where the automakers unveil their latest concept cars and fancy new rides, Auto Trends with JeffCars.com is keeping the show on the road.

The syndicated multicultural automotive show, which includes one-on-one conversations with industry pioneers and trendsetters, is bringing the auto show circuit to the airwaves virtually by way of the radio. Enthusiasts and car buyers alike can still get the latest insights on what’s new in 2021 and beyond, but without the risk of being in a super spreader environment.

Two trusted and well-respected experts, who are based out of Detroit, help kick off the auto show season. Stephanie Brinley, an IHS Markit Detroit-based senior auto analyst, and Jason Stein, Automotive News’ publisher, joins in for a two-part auto show unveiling.

Avoid the crowds, buckle up and ride along. Admissions is free. Tune in to WSCU 88.9 FM or wcsufm.org.

The two-part program is being underwritten by the Bob Ross Auto Group, home to Miami Valley’s brand new Mercedes-Benzs, Buicks, GMCs and a selection of pre-owned vehicles.

To tune in to part one of the 2021 Beyond Auto Show Preview

To hear the conversation, tune in to Auto Trends with JeffCars.com, on Jan. 23 at 10:30 a.m.

To tune in to part two of the 2021 Beyond Auto Show Preview

To hear the conversation, tune in to Auto Trends with JeffCars.com, on Jan. 30 at 10:30 a.m.

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