SOUTHFIELD, Mich. - May brought online orders only and an unexpectedly less grim outlook for the auto industry in 2020 - despite the havoc the COVID-19 pandemic unleashed on one of Michigan's largest manufacturing sectors. Used cars and services for vehicles are also starting to pick back up.
Now playing a balancing act of reopening manufacturing and selling more vehicles, the Big 3 in Detroit and brands known everywhere else are hoping they'll continue weathering a storm that absolutely crushed the industry's supply chain months ago.
Despite the uncertainty, there's at least one thing that all auto industry employees can look forward to - the return of the North American International Auto Show in 2021.
"We really do look forward to next year and it does give us the opportunity to improve and refine our plan, but also to integrate what's changing in social gatherings," said Doug North, chairman of the NAIAS.
After announcing the event's cancellation as space originally used by brands showing off new cars was re-adapted into a makeshift hospital for potential patients of the pandemic, most are expecting Detroit's first summer auto show will be ready come June of 2021.
So what will the show feature? Among the most anticipated trends the industry hoped to capitalize on this year was the unveiling of autonomous technology within vehicles. The status of that integration is now on hold as companies hold off on planned mergers with tech companies.
"It's really a mixed bag but if you try to read the tea leaves from 10,000 feet, I think it's a bit further than what the early analysts predicted. It's not going to be here next year in terms of any type of real use," North said.
There were plans using the Michigan Mobility Challenge to showcase some shuttles operating autonomously around the city.