New York's International Auto Show Cancels Two Weeks Out

The Delta variant and increased safety measures led to the difficult decision, says show president Mark Schienberg.

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The New York International Automobile Show, set to open Aug. 19 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, has been cancelled. Organizers of the 121-year-old event made the difficult call yesterday, citing growing concern over the Covid-19 Delta variant and heightened measures by state and local officials to mitigate the spread of the virus. New York City will soon require proof of vaccination for indoor dining, gyms, entertainment and performances, the mayor announced on Tuesday. 
 
All signs were positive in the months leading up to the show, with vaccination rates rising in New York and mask mandates easing, said Mark Schienberg, president of the New York Auto Show and the Greater New York Automobile Dealers Association, in a statement released yesterday. "But today is a different story," he noted. "Over the past few weeks, and especially within the last few days, circumstances have changed, making it more difficult to create an event at the high standard that we and our clients expect."
 
Founded in 1900, the show is one of the auto industry's most popular events, drawing more than 1 million attendees each year, according to published reports. The average attendee spends almost five hours at the exhibition, and nearly 72 percent intend to purchase a vehicle over the next 12 months, noted Schienberg.
 
Research supports the show's significant influence on auto sales: A 10-year study released in 2020 by Foresight Research found that more than half of attendees who bought a new car said their auto show experience influenced their purchase decision. "We fully appreciate and acknowledge how important auto shows are to the automakers, retail new car and truck dealers and the public alike," Schienberg said, "and we strongly believe in the future of these valuable marketing events."
 
This year's event was to include a new element, the EV Test Fest, with an entire floor dedicated to electric vehicles and four indoor test tracks. Electric vehicles were introduced to the show eight years ago. The Auto Show is expected to resume its regular spring schedule in April 2022.

For meeting and event planners, this raises the question of whether our industry will see a new wave of cancelled or postponed events. That's the focus of Northstar's latest PULSE Survey, open now for planner responses. Please take two minutes to share your input.