The Covid-19 virus has caused the cancelation of one of Detroit’s most anticipated events in modern Motor City history. Like with most cities and industries, their economies have taken a huge hit due to the pandemic. But for Detroit and the surrounding regional area, having the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) and the Grand Prix cancelled is the worst thing that could happen to a city that has just started to really hit its stride.
Detroit has suffered for many years economically, and with the new build of the Little Caesar Arena, Detroit has really started to see an up-turn. The arena gave the Red Wings a new place to play and brought the Detroit Pistons back to Detroit from their previous home at the Palace in Auburn Hills, MI.
The North American International Auto Show
This year would have been the first year for the NAIAS to be held in June instead of in January. Last year the show experienced 35,000 fewer guests than the previous year due to a massive snowstorm. And it’s these kinds of wintery problems that the NAIAS has always experienced when trying to get and keep attendance up.
Even with the 35,000 fewer guests, the NAIAS boosted Detroit’s and the regional economy with revenue gains of over $430 Million, the equivalent of two Super Bowls. Restaurants and hotels all reap the rewards of this extraordinary event. But as of right now, with all these businesses already hammered with the restrictions of the Covid-19 virus, the cancellation of the NAIAS will only make things worse.
More Problems For NAIAS
The second biggest reason for the move to June other than attendance was to bring back some of the automakers that have backed out of the event in the past few years. As attendance declined because of weather and other reasons, a lot of foreign automakers have backed out of the event - with fewer people - fewer people to promote their product to. Moving the NAIAS to June from January was supposed to be the game-changer.
Having the event outside during the summer would allow interested consumers to take vehicles for a test drive, experience new self-driving cars in the flesh, and give more room for automakers to set up their displays. Also, adding to the fun, there was going to be off-road events at the TCF Center and Hart Plaza, rally cars were to "drift" on the rooftop of the convention center, the Motor Bella festival of Italian and British cars on Broadway, live music, and more.
Unfortunately, if you show up to any of these places this year, you’ll find that they are either closed or turned into a temporary field hospital for Covid-19 patients.
Detroit Grand Prix At Belle Isle
The Detroit Grand Prix was also cancelled. The Grand Prix was to be held May 29-31 just before the June 7-20 NAIAS was to be held making Detroit a true Motor City again. The two events put together so close should have been a great chance for Detroit to get more people down to the city than usual for the two events. Gearheads and just curious people altogether who wanted to see just what Detroit was starting to become was in hopes of showing up.
Unfortunately, like with all cities around the world, the pandemic is affecting all new and exciting things and traditional things that goes on in our cities. And for a city that was finally bouncing back after decades of decline, this will put a big halt on the progress Detroit has made.