Automakers, suppliers revved up as Motor Bella kicks off; rain, floods cancel Wednesday events

DETROIT — Most of the show at the new Motor Bella event in suburban Detroit took place off the stage for its debut Tuesday.

The event at M1 Concourse drew hundreds of industry representatives and media members in Pontiac, Mich., as it marked the return of a major auto show to metro Detroit and offered a glimpse into the possible future of the North American International Auto Show.

Heavy rain hit the Detroit area on Tuesday afternoon and the Wednesday schedule has been canceled, organizers said.

“After a very successful and highly anticipated first day, we had a significant amount of rain hit the facility, resulting in flooding and water damage to exhibit areas,” Rod Alberts, executive director of the Detroit Auto Dealers Association, said in a statement late Tuesday. “With the significant amount of rain forecasted to continue well into tomorrow (Wednesday), we unfortunately are forced to cancel all activities scheduled for tomorrow and focus on ensuring the facility is ready for Public Days.”

Public days will open at 9 a.m. on Thursday and run through Sunday.

Earlier Tuesday at the event entrance, Jeep Wranglers, Compasses and Grand Cherokees lined up on an off-road track like roller coaster cars, taking passengers over a steep hill and a mound of rocks and through 19 inches of water. On the opposite end of the show’s 87-acre footprint, racecar drivers in Toyota performance vehicles put on a noisy show for spectators lined up along the track.

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