By David Shepardson
Organizers said Friday they were canceling the 2020 New York auto show that had previously been pushed back until August, citing the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and the venue's use as a field hospital.
The show, which was initially set for early April and is typically used to unveil new vehicles, was set to take place at the Javits Convention Center. However, the center is now being used as an active hospital and is in standby mode for the foreseeable future, organizers said.
The next New York show will take place April 2-11, 2021. A string of auto shows have been canceled this year and some automakers -- like Toyota Motor Corp -- are opting to hold virtual unveilings of new vehicles.
Mark Schienberg, president of the Greater New York Automobile Dealers Association, the organization that owns and operates the 120-year-old New York Auto Show, noted that automakers and their exhibit partners needed "immense planning" to construct a show. "Because of the uncertainty caused by the virus, we feel it would not be prudent to continue with the 2020 Show," he said.
Large gatherings in New York have been canceled through at least Labor Day, including Broadway shows.
Detroit's auto show that had been set for June was canceled in March. The Paris Motor show scheduled for late September/early October in March was canceled as were auto shows in Geneva.
A major event for luxury car unveilings, the Concours d'Elegance in Pebble Beach, California, was also canceled. Beijing's 2020 auto show was postponed until September.
Auto shows are often visited by potential new car buyers but cost tens of millions of dollars to put on. Many automakers have rethought whether they still make economic sense amid the pandemic and have scaled back the number of shows they take part in.
(Reporting by David Shepardson, Editing by Franklin Paul and Aurora Ellis)