A large-scale auto show beloved by gearheads will not cruise into the San Diego Convention Center this winter as planned, as yet another local tentpole event feels the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic.
The San Diego International Auto Show was scheduled to take place from Dec. 31, 2020, through Jan. 3, 2021. The annual event usually takes over the downtown San Diego Convention Center for that long holiday weekend around the New Year.
This year, however, is much different – for everyone and everything. One could say it's been quite the ride.
The New Car Dealers Association San Diego County – which owns and produces the longtime auto show – announced Wednesday that “after careful and extensive consideration of the health risks and other factors resulting from COVID-19,” it had decided to cancel the San Diego International Auto Show.
Organizers said the next installment of the four-day event would return to San Diego on Dec. 30, 2021 through Jan. 2, 2022. Those dates are now displayed on the event’s website.
“As much as we wanted to move forward with the show for all of those who eagerly anticipate it each year, the outbreak of COVID-19 and the pandemic has resulted in a situation where we are unable to hold the show,” said Dean Mansfield, president of the New Car Dealers Association San Diego County, in a prepared statement.
“Of course, the health and safety of all of the workers, exhibitors and attendees who make the auto show such a special event are of vital importance,” he continued.
Although the auto show was four months away, Mansfield noted that exhibitors make plans to participate in the event long in advance. Those plans are expensive and elaborate, so the cancellation needed to be decided upon as soon as possible.
Each year, the San Diego International Auto Show sets out to showcase more than 400 of the latest new rides from brands like Aston Martin, Ferrari, Maserati, Mercedez-Benz, and many more. Besides browsing a long lineup of shiny, drool-worthy wheels, attendees can also take part in test drives and check out the latest in automotive products and services.
Tickets usually range from $11 for kids (age 7 to 12) to $15 for adults. There’s also usually a “Family Day” during the event’s run, where all kids get in free.
The auto show is among many tentpole San Diego events canceled by the impact of the pandemic in 2020. Over the summer, beloved local events like the San Diego Pride Parade and San Diego Comic-Con International canceled their in-person celebrations, shifting gears to online versions better suited for these times of COVID-19. The San Diego County Fair was also canceled.
Meanwhile, another major San Diego event set to take place in the last part of 2020 is December Nights at Balboa Park. As of last week, that event is still on, although organizers are figuring out ways to “reimagine” the holiday festival for the pandemic-era.
Since we won't be able to see the cars at the auto show this year, let's drive down memory lane and take a look at photos from a past San Diego International Auto Show below.