The 2020 Detroit motor show – which had been moved from the US winter in January to summer in June from this year – has been cancelled so the massive exhibition centre can be used as a field hospital.
Health authorities in Detroit will bring 900 hospital beds into what was going to be the motor show display area to help manage the expected increased in patients being treated for COVID-19.
The Detroit motor show has been held at the site since 1965. The venue, formerly known as Cobo Hall after a former mayor of Detroit, is now called the TCF Centre, the name of a financial company sponsor.
The cancellation of the Detroit auto show follows the closure of the Geneva auto show and the postponement of the New York auto show in the lead-up to the coronavirus outbreak.
“The health and welfare of the citizens of Detroit and Michigan is paramount," Rod Alberts, executive director of the show, said in a memo published by Automotive News. “TCF Center is the ideal location for this important function at this critical and unprecedented time.”
In an official statement released by organisers over the weekend Mr Alberts said: “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.”
The US Army and state and federal authorities began assessing the venue over the weekend, the Automotive News report said.
The Detroit auto show has been postponed from its original June 13-20, 2020 date to begin June 15-16, 2021 for the industry and preview days, while the public days will run from June 19-26, 2021, Automotive News said.
The shift to summer will give Detroit motor show organisers an opportunity to provide a mix of indoor and outdoor acitivities, such as a short off-road course, automatic parking exercises, and automatic emergency braking demonstrations.
According to the latest data out of Detroit and as this article was published, 4658 people in Michigan have tested positive for the coronavirus and 111 have died.