All-outdoor Motor Bella event reestablishes cancelled NAIAS 2021

While the North American International Auto Show has been put on pause, Motor Bella, set for Sept. 21-26, 2021, is a reimagined auto-centric event that will bring next-generation mobility and vehicle debuts to attendees.


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Motor Bella 2021

Photo Credit: Motor Bella

The North American International Auto Show (NAIAS, Troy, Mich., U.S.) announced on Jan. 11 that it will not hold its 2021 auto show as planned. Instead, show officials have revealed a “bridge to the future” with an auto-centric event called Motor Bella, which will be held from Sept. 21-26, 2021, at the M1 Concourse in Pontiac, Mich., U.S., a location often referred to as an “87- acre playground for auto enthusiasts.”

The new event, reports officials, will bring next-generation mobility and vehicle debuts to media, show-goers and the automotive enthusiasts’ world in a never-before-experienced way while also addressing continued COVID-19 concerns about indoor events. 

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 hot 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 Executive Director Rod Alberts. “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.”

NAIAS sees this outdoor experience at M1 as a bridge to the future, one that will continue to evolve as the show explores new ways of presenting mobility during these unprecedented times. 

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.”

As auto shows around the world are being reimagined and will continue to do so in the wake of the pandemic, NAIAS has been reimagining its position for some time. “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,” Alberts adds. “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.”

Event Chairman Doug North notes 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 was originally 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,” Doug 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.”

According to North, NAIAS sees this outdoor experience at M1 as a bridge to the future, one that will continue to evolve as the show explores new ways of presenting mobility during 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,” he says. “This will always be part of our considerations for the future.”

Dates for the 2021 Motor Bella are:

  • Press Preview: Tuesday, Sept. 21
  • AutoMobili-D: Tuesday, Sept. 21-Thursday, Sept. 23
  • Industry Preview: Wednesday, Sept. 22-Thursday, Sept. 23
  • Public Show: Thursday, Sept. 23-Sunday, Sept. 26

A charity initiative, which will continue the NAIAS’ and Detroit Auto Dealers Association’s longstanding commitment to children and families in need, will also be part of the six-day Motor Bella.


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