April's New York Auto Show Punted to August Over Coronavirus

You had to have known this would happen.

New York International Auto Show 2019
Getty Images—2019 Anadolu Agency

If you've been wondering how hundreds of thousands of visitors were supposed to walk around the New York Auto Show next month with large-scale gatherings being canceled over the coronavirus outbreak, an official state of emergency and at least one nearby community ordered into a "containment area," you are not alone. Now the outcome that everyone in the automotive industry expected has come true: the show will be postponed to August over ongoing virus fears.

New York Auto Show officials confirmed in an email this afternoon that the show will now take place from August 28 to September 6, with the press preview days happening August 26 and 27. 

“We are taking this extraordinary step to help protect our attendees, exhibitors and all participants from the coronavirus,” Mark Schienberg, president of the Greater New York Automobile Dealers Association, said in an email. Schienberg's organization puts the show on at the Javits Center in Manhattan. 

Bloomberg first reported the news that organizers were mulling the postponement this afternoon before the official announcement was made. In that story, the news wire reported organizers were working hard to preserve the event, which draws a huge crowd of prospective car buyers and has an estimated $330 million local economic benefit. They even went so far as to install 70 hand sanitizing stations throughout the convention center. 

But with coronavirus infections showing no signs of slowing down in America, and parts of the nearby suburb of New Rochelle ordered to prohibit large gatherings, the auto show's future seemed highly doubtful in recent days. The New York City Half Marathon, originally scheduled for this coming weekend, was also canceled on Tuesday.

Last month in Switzerland, the Geneva Motor Show was scrapped entirely over coronavirus concerns, and other big events like Austin's SXSW have followed suit.

It's not immediately clear what financial impact this decision will have on automakers, who planned over a dozen big debuts, a few of which were already rescheduled from Geneva—as well as the countless contractors and employees working to put the show together. It is, however, more bad news for the traditional auto show itself—January came and went without the Detroit Auto Show, and now both Geneva and New York are casualties of the viral epidemic. 

More on this as we get it.