The end of the road for the Geneva Motor Show as 2021 event cancelled

Published 30 June 2020

The organisers of the Geneva Motor Show - where new cars models and concepts are revealed - have cancelled next year's event following a lack of interest from carmakers.

Next year's Geneva Motor Show, which was due to take place in March 2021, will not go ahead - with the owners looking to sell the event. The announcement raises questions about the future of motor shows as a whole.

As well as suffering from the huge financial losses of scrapping the 2020 show, the majority of the event's exhibitors who took part in a survey said they would "probably not participate" in a show next year but would prefer attending a 2022 event. Other auto shows in New York and Detroit were also cancelled this year as the Covid-19 pandemic began.

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This year's Geneva Motor Show was cancelled in February, just days before it was due to open its doors to the public, due to health concerns and travel restrictions. It regularly attracts more than half a million visitors, from both press and public - and is Switzerland's largest public event. It makes about 200m Swiss francs (£171 million) a year, according to the organisers.

The Committee and Council of the Foundation “Salon International de l’Automobile,” which puts on the show, had been seeking financial help from the Swiss government in the months since the cancellation, and the Canton of Geneva offered a loan of 16.8 million Swiss francs. But the foundation turned down the loan.

On Monday, the automotive show's organisers announced plans to sell the show's assets to the owners of the Palexpo conference centre where the event is held. 

The spotlight is now on other motor shows and events, considering the financial and logistical burden of launching physical events compared to digital press conferences and launches to reveal new models.


gavsmit    on 30 June 2020

The UK Motorshow (at Earls Court or Birmingham NEC) was the highlight of my year when I was a kid, like Christmas and Birthday rolled into one. I loved getting in all the new cars (on the stands that allowed it) and collecting all the brochures.

I was gutted when some greedy, disrespectful car manufacturers decided to stop exhibiting in the UK, despite all their loyal UK customers, thus leading to its demise.

And now it's happening in other countries.

With the ridiculously spiralling prices of cars these days, and manufacturers giving the impression that they couldn't care less about customers e.g. VW dieselgate, some pretty awful stories of reliability woes, dire customer service / warranty cover from a range of makes and Covid-19 impact on people's ability to afford a new car, the car manufacturers are going to reap what they sow.

_ORB_    on 1 July 2020

l used to live in Geneva and the Palexpo complex has become a huge white elephant as (rightly so) the local authorities have refused to permanently subsidise it.

It brought a lot of visitors into Switzerland and hotel prices were higher for that period, as they always were when events were on.

Manufacturers are also now unwilling to pay the huge fees that
Palexpo were asking, and many had pulled out in previous years.
I'll miss it though!

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