The 2021 Detroit Auto Show Is Already Canceled—Sort of

An outdoor event called Motor Bella will take its place in nearby Pontiac.

Auto Show Lincoln
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It's official. Detroit's North American International Auto Show for 2021, which was previously pushed back from a summer date to late September, has been called off by its organizers. Wow, who would've guessed?

In its place, organizers are going forward with an all-outdoor event called Motor Bella scheduled for Sept. 21 to 26—the first two days will be for industry and press professionals, while the remaining are open to the public. Motor Bella will be held at Pontiac, Michigan's M1 Concourse, an 87-acre outdoor automotive playground where carmakers and exhibitors will be invited to show off their wares. The Concourse even features a 1.5-mile race track, something the TCF Center definitely does not have.

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"This all-outdoor venue, with adrenaline-pumping track activities and a full complement of OEM and technology exhibits, is going to offer the sights, sounds and even the smell of all that the new world of mobility has to offer," said Executive Director Rod Alberts.

As you might have guessed from its grandiose name, Motor Bella was originally intended as an Italian and British supercar and classic car event. Now that the regular Detroit Auto Show is off, it will now showcase cars of all brands, nationalities, shapes, and propulsion methods.

"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," said event chairman Doug North. "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."

Even before the pandemic started, the auto show's relevance has been waning. A laundry list of foreign OEMs had already opted out of the 2019 Detroit event while the 2018 edition wasn't much better. Perhaps a pandemic-induced rethink like Motor Bella is just what the Michigan auto show scene needed.

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