What a difference a week makes. On March 3rd, organizers of the New York International Auto Show insisted the show would go on, declaring it had "no plans" to kibosh the event out of concern for the coronavirus. Late Tuesday, it relented, bowing to pressure both of the medical and perhaps political.
Originally slated to kick off with a series of debuts on April 8th and 9th, the Javits Center will now host the event sometime in August. One hopes the viral unease gripping the continent is just a memory by then.
"We are taking this extraordinary step to help protect our attendees, exhibitors and all participants from the coronavirus," said Mark Schienberg, head of the Greater New York Automobile Dealers Association, in a statement.
"For 120 years, 'the show must go on' has been heavily embedded in our DNA, and while the decision to move the show dates didn't come easy, our top priority remains with the health and well-being of all those involved in this historic event. We have already been in communication with many of our exhibitors and partners and are confident that the new dates for the 2020 Show will make for another successful event."
Earlier, the organizing body said it planned to take "precautionary measures" inside Javits, bolstering the existing efforts of state and local health agencies. The show's fate seemed sealed when Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo declared a state of emergency amid rising instances of coronavirus infection on Saturday, but it was Tuesday's today's declaration of a one-mile "containment zone" around a coronavirus cluster in NYC suburb New Rochelle and Cuomo's activation of the National Guard that seemed to be the last straw for show organizers.
The postponement of the show comes on the heels of a similar cancellation of the Geneva Motor Show earlier this month. Not to anyone's surprise, the Beijing Motor Show, scheduled for late April, also saw its date pushed back.
Growing virus fears aside, the show's move leaves automakers scrambling to rejig their introduction schedule. Among the vehicles expected to debut in New York were the Ford Bronco Sport (of which you saw a sneak peak yesterday ) and the Volkswagen ID.4 electric crossover. Numerous other introductions will need to find another venue --- assuming one can be found.
You read earlier today that General Motors scrapped the California debut event for its electric Cadillac Lyriq crossover. It's quite possible many of these intros will find their way online, leaving many wondering whether the recent scrubbings spell the end of the traditional automotive trade show as we know it.
[Image: New York International Auto Show/ Twitter ]
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