Next year’s Geneva Motor Show will not be taking place as the effect of the Coronavirus pandemic continues to take its toll. News that one of the industry’s flagship events will not be taking place despite it being a full 9 months away, will dent the optimism of anyone in the motor trade that had been banking on the so called “V-shaped recovery”. It also is a worrying sign of a potentially lasting effect for organisers of such events.
The show was scheduled for March 2021 but the Committee and Council of the Foundation Salon International de l’Automobile who arrange the event revealed, “The automotive sector is currently going through a difficult phase, and exhibitors need time to recover from the effects of the pandemic.” Hence they responded to weak demand from exhibitors by making a pre-emptive decision to cancel.
The leading international auto show’s 2020 event had already fallen victim to the worldwide crisis like many other motor shows around the globe. It was cancelled with little notice in February. Following up the news the organisers also revealed that their intention is to sell the rights to the motor show that often attracts over 500,000 attendees. The show’s assets will be purchased by the owners of the Palexpo conference centre in Geneva where the event is held.
Lockdowns and travel restrictions caused by the virus have resulted in the abandonment of other major shows including those held in New York and Detroit. Vehicle manufacturers have instead turned to debuting their new models via online launches. The success of these virtual unveilings will no doubt lead to greater scrutiny of budgets allocated by car brands to motor shows.
The fear for event owners is that the returns generated by online launches will compare favourably when measured against the significant expense and logistical challenges of exhibiting at international shows. Much to the disappointment of petrol heads and car enthusiasts who want to inspect the latest concept cars in person we think the future could be bleak for such events as companies will be adjusting their strategies for the new normal going forward.
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