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Geneva Show cancellation may spell the end of car shows as we know them says show President

In a live-streamed news conference today, February 28, President of the Geneva International Motor Show (GIMS) Foundation Maurice Turrettini, and Olivier Rihs, Managing Director of GIMS, said that while the traditional motor show is popular, GIMS recognises that it may have change its formula.

Speaking on the background to the decision to cancel the show, Maurcie Turrettini (pictured) said, “Based on the decision rendered by the Swiss authorities, we have had to cancel the Geneva Motor Show. This was not our responsibility, it was up to the federal decision, we were expecting this decision hence why the last two days have been a bit difficult.”

He said that several brands had preempted this decision by pulling out in the last few days but did not name any OEMs. He said that he hoped that all the exhibitors will return in 202021, for the 91st edition of the show.

When asked how many brands approached the organisers with their plans to exit the show, Turrettini said, “A couple of major brands took the decision not to appear at the show, before we cancelled it.” Olivier Rihs added, “Most of the cars are not here yet but most of the works on the stands have been made.”

Asked if the show will be run at a later date in 2020, Rihs replied, “No, we have no plans, it is cancelled for 2020. Due to the scale and size of the show, it is impossible to postpone it.”

Force Majeure

Rihs said that the exhibitors will not be refunded due to the Force Majeure (a human-initiated action that cannot be predicted or controlled by the party to the contract) nature of the coronavirus and that no litigation will be entertained either.

Maurice Turrettini added that visitors will be reimbursed for their ticket purchases.

Costly coronavirus

In answer to a question on the financial consequences for Geneva and Switzerland, Rihs said that, “We would expect to have spending of between 200 and 250 million Swiss Francs during the two weeks of the show and for us as the organiser we expect to lose abut 2 million Swiss Francs ($205-256 million) but we have not made the calculation yet.”

Changing the formula

The cancellation of the show may call into question the future of all car shows but Turrettini said that while, “The classic motor show has been criticised by some brands but based on the preview list of exhibitors – we attracted 160 exhibitors this year, we feel it is still a popular format but we also recognise that we may have to adapt and change the formula.”

Rihs said that no exhibitors have yet booked for next year; brands would usually have confirmed their spaces for the following year by this time.

European Car of the Year – where to now?

Speaking about the European Car of the Year event, that traditionally takes place at GIMS, Rihs said that the GIMS team has had no communication from the ECOTY team as to when and where the awards ceremony might take place.

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