Mere days before it was set to open its doors in Switzerland, the 2020 Geneva International Motor Show is no more.
The Swiss government announced early Friday morning that an immediate ban would take effect for all public gatherings of 1000 people or more. This was in response to coronavirus concerns, as the country recently reported its first case. The ban will run at least until March 15, which covers the entirety of Geneva’s originally scheduled run. The 90th edition of the motor show was to open its doors to the media next Monday, March 2.
The European show is typically a big deal for Old World automakers. Volkswagen was planning on debuting the new Mk8 Golf GTI for example. Mercedes-Benz was also lining up the refreshed 2021 E-Class. The three-pointed star will switch to a livestreaming event for its mid-sizer debut, according to Reuters. BMW will follow suit with a digital showing of its Concept i4, which previews its 350-plus-mile range electric vehicle. Audi will join its fellow luxury brands with a planned digital debut of both the new A3 and E-Tron S.
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Other manufacturers may scramble to follow suit. Fiat Chrysler told Reuters it “had no plan B”, with a new electric Fiat 500 part of its original plan.
Alternately, some brands may instead roll their Geneva plans into the next major international auto show: New York’s, which begins April 10.
“We regret this situation, but the health of all participants is our and our exhibitors’ top priority,” said Maurice Turrttini, chairman of the GIMS Foundation Board. “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.”
The autoshow team will refund all purchased tickets.