The North American International Auto Show (NAIAS)—otherwise known as the Detroit Auto Show—has been a staple of the North American automotive scene for more than 30 years. Not only is it among the largest auto shows on the continent, owing to a long history of vehicle launches, first-time looks, and innovative concepts, it’s also among the most fun.

Unfortunately, like many of the other fun things impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021 show has been cancelled.

But there is a silver lining: Instead of holding the auto show as planned, NAIAS organizers are replacing it with an all-new, all-outdoor event called Motor Bella.

The new event, scheduled to take place Sept. 21-26, 2021, at the M1 Concourse in Pontiac, Michigan “will bring next-generation mobility and exciting vehicle debuts to media, show-goers, and the automotive enthusiasts’ world in a never before experienced way,” NAIAS organizers said in a press release.

According to the statement, the allotted 1.6 million square feet of display space will feature terrain ideal for showcasing off-road capabilities and a 1.5-mile hot track for technology and vehicle demos. Attendees can expect a “multi-sensory experience” filled with track activities and a wide range of OEM and technology exhibits.

More than that, the new format aims to address many of the safety and cost concerns associated with putting on a large trade show during a pandemic.

“While auto shows remain an important platform to promote new mobility innovations and to help people make major vehicle purchase decisions, the traditional auto show model is changing,” said Executive Director Rod Alberts. “We cannot ignore the major disruptions caused by the pandemic and the impact it has had on budgets. As such, we will be providing an amazing experience to the media, the auto industry and the public in a cost-effective way.”

Dates for the 2021 Motor Bella are as follows:

  • Press Preview – Tuesday, Sept. 21
  • AutoMobili-D – Tuesday, Sept. 21 through a half-day Thursday, Sept. 23
  • Industry Preview – Wednesday, Sept. 22 and a half-day Thursday, Sept. 23
  • Public Show – Thursday, Sept. 23 through Sunday, Sept. 26

For the official announcement tweet and full press release from NAIAS, see below:

Author: Will Schertz

Will is a contributing writer for OnAllCylinders. His automotive writing career stretches back longer than a decade and includes a stint as senior reporter for one of the tire industry’s largest trade publications. He enjoys long walks on the beach, romantic candlelit dinners, and thinly veiled sarcasm. Will lives with his beautiful wife and two small humans who steal his food and "need" more LEGOs.