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Detroit Auto Show canceled; TCF Center to be turned into field hospital

The auto show was set to take place in June.
Credit: AP
The floor of the North American International Auto Show is shown in Detroit, Thursday, Jan. 17, 2019. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

DETROIT — The 2020 North American International Auto Show has been canceled in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. A statement from NAIAS said they are also expecting FEMA to re-purpose the TCF Center into a field hospital. 

The Detroit Free Press first reported on the canceled show, which was set to take place in June. 

“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,” said NAIAS Executive Director Rod Alberts

This was going to be the first year of a revamped auto show in June instead of January. But Alberts said with convention centers across the country potentially serving as temporary healthcare facilities, it's likely the TCF Center would be an option in Detroit. 

EARLIER: It's official: Auto show shifts to June in 2020, plans street festival

Southeast Michigan has been hit hard by COVID-19, with the Detroit metro area reporting 83% of the positive cases in the state. This week, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said some hospitals in that region are nearing capacity. A top health official also warned that the situation in Detroit could get worse. 

On Friday, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was assessing facilities in Detroit to turn into temporary healthcare facilities, WXYZ reported. This included the TCF Center, the Detroit Pistons Performance Center, two dorms and Wayne State University.

President Donald Trump approved Whitmer's major disaster declaration request Saturday, which will provide additional money to fight the pandemic. 

The next Detroit auto show will take place in June 2021. This was set to be the first year the revamped show would take place in the summer instead of January.

“We will be ready to unleash this energy and enthusiasm when June 2021 rolls around to produce the absolute best show and experience ever. We look forward to literally redefining the auto show landscape with fresh ideas and innovative opportunities for mobility activations and partnerships,” said 2020 NAIAS Chairman Doug North.

All tickets purchased for this year's show will be fully refunded. 

The 2021 show dates are:

  • Motor Bella: Friday, June 11 – Monday, June 14
  • The Gallery: Monday, June 14
  • Press Preview: Tuesday, June 15 – Wednesday, June 16
  • AutoMobili-D Powered by PlanetM: Tuesday, June 15 – Thursday, June 17
  • Industry Preview: Wednesday, June 16 – Thursday, June 17
  • Charity Preview: Friday, June 18
  • Public Show: Saturday, June 19 – Saturday, June 26

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