It's time for the National Automobile Dealers Association to come up with a Plan B — again.
This month, NADA officials said they were planning an in-person show for March 2022 in Las Vegas, although they would continue to monitor coronavirus statistics leading up to the event. Days later, the New York auto show and the 2021 Auto Forum New York, which is hosted by NADA and J.D. Power, were canceled with only two weeks' notice as COVID-19 cases surge again and state and local officials announced new safety measures.
NADA organizers expect 25,000 attendees and are planning an opening night party at Allegiant Stadium that would mark the largest celebration NADA has hosted since its 100-year anniversary in 2017. We're sympathetic with the need to make plans now to pull off such a large event, but the organization must also be preparing to take the show online again.
NADA would take a financial hit without vendors in the expo hall, and vendors would miss out on face time with potential customers. But to keep its members safe, NADA needs to consider making that sacrifice.
The plans for Las Vegas look very different from business at the Detroit 3, which reinstated mask mandates at plants and offices last week. The manufacturers have been cautious throughout the pandemic and may not feel comfortable sending teams if the situation doesn't improve dramatically.