The 2020 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) held in Detroit in June has been canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, rescheduling for June 2021. The convention center, where the tradeshow was expected to be held, will now be repurposed into a temporary hospital to treat COVID-19 patients.

The global show has been highly anticipated by the auto industry and is the backdrop for a slew of vehicle launches announced by automakers. Now, the show will prepare to work with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to convert the TCF Center into a makeshift hospital as the number of coronavirus cases increases.

“Although we are disappointed, there is nothing more important to us than the health, safety and well-being of the citizens of Detroit and Michigan, and we will do what we can to support our community’s fight against the coronavirus outbreak,” Rod Alberts, NAIAS executive director, said in a statement.

“With the more than 100 convention centers and facilities around the country being considered to potentially serve as temporary hospitals, it became clear to us that TCF Center would be an inevitable option to serve as a care facility to satisfy our community’s urgent health needs.

“One of the hallmarks of NAIAS since the very beginning has been our commitment to being socially responsible. Our thoughts continue to be with those whose lives have been impacted by this devastating virus. And, we support the city and state’s mission to help preserve life in the face of this challenging situation,” he added.

Organizers of the event said that tickets will be fully refunded and allow Charity Preview ticketholder the option of a refund or to donate the funds to nine designated Charity Preview beneficiaries. The NAIAS will be in contact with all ticket holders, it said.

Sponsors of the show will also be contacted about their event contracts and regarding refunds.

The 2021 NAIAS public show will be held from June 19 to 26, 2021, with the Motor Bella being scheduled for June 11 to June 14, 2021. The Gallery will be held on June 14, 2021, and the Press Preview is slated for June 15 to June 17, 2021. The Industry Preview is from June 16 to June 17, 2021, and the Charity Preview will be held on June 18, 2021.

Delhi Auto Show_2006 Visitors admire cars on display at the "8th Auto Expo 2006" in New Delhi on Jan. 12, 2006. Photo: Reuters/Kamal Kishore