“For 120 years, ‘the show must go on’ has been heavily embedded in our DNA,” says the president of the Greater New York Automobile Dealers Association, Mark Schienberg. The coronavirus has stopped countless shows already, including traditions that have been going on since before World War II. The Greater New York Automobile Dealers Association had scheduled the New York Auto Show to start on April 10th at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City. The event has been pushed to the end of August. This was not a decision that came easy, considering that it is a very important, American tradition.
A number of automakers had planned for the debut of many of their vehicles at this show. The lineup for the show included electric vehicle startup Lucid Motors along with Ford and GM. COVID-19 is a member of the coronavirus family, a close cousin to the SARS and MERS viruses that have caused destructive outbreaks in the past. Governments and companies have cancelled tech, business, automotive, and entertainment events around the world.
In 1900, the New York International Automobile was America’s first automotive exhibition. The Automobile Club of America’s First Annual Automobile Show was on November 3 of 1900 in Madison Square Garden. There were 69 exhibitors who showed off 160 complete vehicles with 48,000 attendees. For over a hundred years, depression, war, boom-time, oil crisis, recession, and growth. It definitely has a place as one of the world’s greatest public shows. However, even though the show has gone on for all this time, COVID-19 has put a stop to it all.
The world has taken a hit from this new strain of the virus and so has the world of cars. Cadillac has announced plans to cancel the unveiling of its new electric vehicle at a special event in Los Angeles, which has been cancelled. The Geneva International Motor Show was cancelled. The MWC in Barcelona was cancelled. The SXSW festival in Austin, Texas has been cancelled. Vancouver International Auto Show has been cancelled. The Mid-America Trucking Show has been cancelled. The World Endurance Championship has been cancelled. The 1000 Miles of Sebring race has been cancelled.
The coronavirus has been classified as a pandemic by the World Health Organization and has led to quarantine and cancelling of, essentially, all automaking events. Putting all of those things on hold, you can’t help but wonder what kind of world you will be walking into once this is over. As coronavirus takes more lives and continues to grow, despite governments’ best efforts, change happens. The world continues to go on. Without these shows, and as the production of cars has slowed to a halt, profits for automakers are spiraling downward. The bottom line for manufacturers is dropping even lower. COVID-19 has stopped the show around the world and this brings a problem to car manufacturers that has never been dealt with on this scale. What they do with this issue and how they get the show back on the road will, hopefully, be something to see very soon.