The New York International Auto Show is the latest big event to be postponed due to the novel coronavirus outbreak. The show was supposed to open to press on April 8th and 9th and to the public from April 10th to the 19th, but organizers announced on Tuesday that they are now aiming to hold the event in August.
“We are taking this extraordinary step to help protect our attendees, exhibitors and all participants from the coronavirus,” Mark Schienberg, who is the president of the dealer association that runs the show, said in a statement.
The news comes after New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday that 173 people across the state are infected with the virus. That number that is likely to go up as the state gets more access to approved test kits. Of the 118,101 cases confirmed worldwide, 64,391 have fully recovered, and 4,262 people have died.
It’s the third big auto show to be canceled after the coronavirus began spreading from China to other countries. China postponed the Beijing Auto Show, which was scheduled to begin on April 21st. And the Geneva Motor Show, which was supposed to take place last week, was canceled after the Swiss government banned large gatherings of more than 1,000 people.
A litany of other major events, from Mobile World Congress, to both Facebook’s and Google’s annual developers conferences, to SXSW have also been canceled in an effort to prevent further spread of the virus. (Those conferences alone represent an economic hit of more than $1 billion.)
Scheinberg said as recently as March 9th that his plan was “to hold the show as long as somebody doesn’t say we can’t do it.” The show’s organizers announced on March 3rd that the Javits Center, where the event is held, was taking precautionary measures like adding hand sanitizing stations and increasing the cleaning of commonly touched areas. It’s the first time the show has been rescheduled since World War II.
This year’s NYIAS was expected to feature the debut of Volkswagen’s ID 4 electric SUV, the production version of Saudi-backed California startup Lucid Motors’ first EV, and Ford’s new revamped Bronco, among others. Like many other auto shows, though, the New York Auto Show lost a bit of its luster, as big names like Mercedes-Benz and Audi previously decided to skip this year’s event, and BMW bowed out before the 2019 show.
Of course, many more abandoned last year’s annual auto show in Detroit, the home of the big three US car companies. That show got moved from January to June for this year, in some part as an attempt to reignite companies’ interest in attending, and as of now is still supposed to take place.
Shortly after the New York show was officially delayed, a spokesperson for Volkswagen said the company is “taking stock” of its options. Lucid Motors said it “intend[s] to share our plans for the Lucid Air launch soon.” It’s not immediately clear what other automakers who planned to attend will do with their announcements. After the Geneva Motor Show was canceled, many simply live streamed their own press conferences or published information about their new cars on the internet.