The North American International Auto Show announced Monday it has cancelled its planned September indoor-outdoor 2021 auto show in downtown Detroit and revealed a “bridge to the future” auto-centric event called Motor Bella to take its place, Sept. 21-26, at the M1 Concourse in Pontiac.
The new event will bring next-generation mobility and vehicle debuts to media, show-goers, and automotive enthusiasts while also addressing continued COVID-19 concerns about indoor events.
“We see this outdoor experience at M1 as a bridge to the future” says Doug North, chairman of the event. “One that will continue to evolve as we explore new ways of presenting mobility and as we navigate through these unprecedented times. We are very cognizant of the importance and impact our show and our events have on the state and the entire metro Detroit area. This will always be part of our considerations for the future.”
Plans call for 1.6 million square feet of vehicle and technology display space, including terrain ideal for showcasing off-roading capabilities. M1 Concourse also offers a 1.5-mile track on the grounds for technology and vehicle demonstrations.
“The pandemic has caused changes in our society and world in ways not previously imagined, and we all should be looking for new and highly creative ways of doing business,” says Rod Alberts, executive director of the NAIAS. “This new event captures that creative spirit. It will provide new mobility experiences and increasingly innovative approaches to tapping into the industry and its products.”
Alberts says attendees can expect a multi-sensory experience at the new event. “This all-outdoor venue, with adrenaline-pumping track activities and a full complement of OEM and technology exhibits, is going to offer the sights, sounds, and even the smell of all that the new world of mobility has to offer.”
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, the NAIAS was reimagining itself from a traditional winter indoor auto show to a spring-summer (then fall) indoor-outdoor event featuring more-dynamic exhibits and specialty events.
“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,” says 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.”
North noted that the M1 Concourse was envisioned as part of the 2021 Motor Bella activities, so it was “a natural progression” to build upon it in light of the growing demand for experiential mobility shows and an increased appetite for outdoor events as a result of the pandemic.
Motor Bella originally was conceived as a celebration of Italian and British supercars and classic vehicles and was to have debuted at the June 2020 NAIAS.
“With our new program for 2021, we will take the Motor Bella concept to the next level with multiple brands and mobilities represented, from hometown to international nameplates, autonomous vehicles to high-performance supercars and everything in between,” North says. “It will be a mobility-filled event. One that will provide our show partners with a cost-efficient backdrop to share all of their brands, products and technologies in a fun and festival-like atmosphere that’s completely outdoors.”
Jordan Zlotoff, CEO of M1 Concourse, says, “Motor Bella will allow journalists, industry executives, and the public to interact with vehicles in a fully dynamic and experiential format, well beyond the limitations of static displays. As the largest private garage community in the world, we at M1 Concourse share the enthusiasm for creating a unique automotive environment built specifically for car enthusiasts.”
A charity initiative, which will continue the NAIAS’ and Detroit Auto Dealers Association’s commitment to children and families in need, also will be part of the six-day Motor Bella.
Key 2021 Motor Bella Dates
Press Preview, Sept. 21
AutoMobili-D, Sept. 21-23
Industry Preview, Sept. 22-23
Public Show, Sept. 23-26