A red flag went up last week as the 2022 season of auto industry trade shows prepares to take stage.
Three auto shows in Canada were called off as the rapidly spreading omicron variant spawns a COVID-19 resurgence in Canada and elsewhere.
The Montreal International Auto Show, scheduled for January, the Canadian International AutoShow in Toronto, planned for February, and the Vancouver International Auto Show in March — all canceled last week in the face of alarming health news — would have marked the return of the Canadian auto show circuit after a yearlong, pandemic-induced hiatus.
Those decisions came down as auto companies prepare to send executives to CES in Las Vegas in early January for that show's return as a live event.
CES normally attracts attendees from around the world to conduct business and see new electronic technologies. In January 2020, just as the world was plunging into the pandemic, the show brought together more than 170,000 attendees, crowding Las Vegas exposition halls, hotels and airport terminals.
The Canadian cancellations also provide a counterpoint to news last week that the state of Michigan will provide a $9 million grant to help the Detroit auto show get back in business. Detroit hasn't hosted an auto show since January 2019.
The Detroit Auto Dealers Association canceled the scheduled June 2020 show, and then the September 2021 show because of coronavirus pandemic worries.