Geneva International Motor Show cancelled amid Switzerland’s coronavirus-related lockdown

Chris Teague

Chris Teague

Amid concerns about the spread of the coronavirus, Swiss officials have implemented bans on group gatherings, which has lead to the cancellation of the annual Geneva auto show.

After word came overnight that Switzerland’s government had announced a ban on gatherings of 1,000 people or more, it was inevitable that the Geneva International Motor Show would be cancelled. Early this morning, representatives from the event confirmed that the show will not go on.

Officials with the car show, which was set to celebrate its 90th anniversary this year issued the following statement:

“The 90th edition of the GIMS, which was supposed to welcome the media from next Monday and the general public from 5 to 15 March 2020, will now finally not take place. This is an injonction decision of the Federal Council of 28 February 2020 that no events with more than 1,000 people are allowed to take place until 15 March 2020. The decision falls 3 days before the opening of the exhibition to the media.

The organizers accept this decision: ‘We regret this situation, but the health of all participants is our and our exhibitors’ top priority. This is a case of force majeure and a tremendous loss for the manufacturers who have invested massively in their presence in Geneva. However, we are convinced that they will understand this decision,’ said Maurice Turrettini, Chairman of the Foundation Board. We would like to warmly thank all those involved in the organisation of the 2020 edition of GIMS.

A few days before the opening of the event, the construction of the stands was very nearly complete. A week ago, during the press conferences announcing the 2020 edition, there was nothing to suggest that such a measure was necessary. The situation changed with the appearance of the first confirmed coronavirus diseases in Switzerland and the injonction of the Federal Council on 28.02.2020. The event is cancelled due to this decision.

In the meantime, the dismantling of the event will now have to be organised. The financial consequences for all those involved in the event are significant and will need to be assessed over the coming weeks. One thing is certain: tickets already purchased for the event will be refunded. The organisers will communicate about this as soon as possible, via their website.”

The cancellation leaves automakers in the lurch. Those set to debut vehicles at the show, which attracts journalists from across the world, will need to find places, times, and conveyance modes to get their messages across. For many, large sums of many have already been spent to build out what was to be their presentation space at the show.

While many will inevitably opt for online reveals,
the show’s cancellation means that the forthcoming New York International Auto Show in early April will be the first opportunity many journalists have to meet the new models.

AutomotiveMap will be following changes to the reveal plans closely and will cover model news as it happens.

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