New York Auto Show postponed due to coronavirus fears

The New York International Auto Show, one of the most important for the auto industry in the United States, has been postponed, its organizers announced Monday afternoon.

The New York International Auto Show, one of the most important for the auto industry in the United States, has been postponed, its organizers announced Monday afternoon.

"We are taking this extraordinary step to help protect our attendees, exhibitors and all participants from the coronavirus," Mark Schienberg, president of the Greater New York Automobile Dealers Association, said in a statement. The New York area dealer group organizes the annual event.

The New York Auto Show joins a growing list of cultural and sporting events around the world that have been canceled or postponed due to the widening global pandemic. Last week, the city of Austin, Texas, canceled the South by Southwest festival after a number of tech companies declined to participate.

The Chinese Grand Prix, scheduled for next month, was postponed indefinitely, according to Formula One, as was the Beijing auto show which was to open April 21. The Geneva Motor Show in Switzerland was called off just days before it was to begin in early March after the Swiss government banned public gatherings of more than 1,000 people until March 15.

The New York auto show, which draws more than a million attendees each year according to its organizers, was to open to the public from April 10 to 19. But even before that, automakers had planned new car unveilings and media events.

After the Geneva Motor Show was canceled most of the automakers that had planned to unveil their new cars there did so anyway, albeit with small events broadcast over the internet.

Given that the New York show is postponed and not canceled, it is unclear what automakers will do regarding those planned events.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo declared a State of Emergency on March 7 to help deal with the coronavus. On Monday, the governor created a "containment zone" around the New York City suburb of New Rochelle to try to contain an outbreak of the virus there.

The New York International Auto Show is one of the biggest events on the auto industry's annual event calendar, and its organizers claim it adds $330 million to the city's local economy. The next big auto show is scheduled for Detroit in June.

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