While the Omicron variant of COVID-19 has caused concerns worldwide, organizers of the first two Canadian auto shows on the 2022 calendar are moving forward in the hope their events won’t be impacted.
The variant is considered to be the most contagious mutation, to date, of COVID-19. And scientists are still running tests to see how well — if at all — the variant can evade vaccine protection.
The CIAS, which is Canada’s largest consumer show, runs from Feb. 18-27, while the Montreal show is slated from Jan. 21-30.
“Obviously like every event we’re keeping an eye on the entire situation, but right now with all of the precautions we’re taking with masking and vaccine passports being required we don’t see an issue at this point in time,” said Jason Campbell, CIAS general manager. “We all hope everything stays as it is because people are coming back to events like hockey games, and we think there will be a large number of people that will want to come back to the AutoShow.”
Luis Pereira, executive director of the Montreal show, said similar protocols are in place for his event.
“We’re not worried about that right now,” he said.
Pereira said he expects to finalize commitments from electric vehicle automakers either at the end of the week or the start of next week. He would not reveal the names of the manufacturers, nor for that matter would Campbell.
Three EV manufacturers – Imperium, Electra Meccanica and VinFast – had displays at the recent L.A. Auto Show.
Both Pereira and Campbell said they expect the manufacturers that have told them they would be at their shows will come.
“Any legal document from manufacturers takes so much longer this year than ever [because of COVID],” Campbell said. “We’ve seen floor plan designs and requests for amendments coming back so there’s no concern they’re not committed to coming.”
Campbell said the CIAS will make an announcement about the main manufacturers returning and ticket sales before Christmas. He said the EV manufacturers will not be announced until some time in late January.
“The regular ones that are coming in are partners that we’ve had for years and base our floor plans around,” he said. “They will have much more significant displays. It really forms the basis of what the floor plan looks like.” The smaller brands will be able to find a home in the remaining space, said Campbell, adding that their exhibits represent “added value for the consumers.”
“We all want them to be there, but the core of the show needs to be the partners that have driven the show forward for 47 years and will continue to do so for the coming years ahead.”