2021 Geneva motor show could go ahead in modified format

The organisers of the Geneva motor show are planning to host a modified version of Europe’s biggest car show in 2021, Automotive News Europe reports.

Following the last-minute cancellation of this year’s event due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Geneva International Motor Show (GIMS) Foundation also cancelled the 2021 show, but it’s now said to be intending to go ahead with the event in an altered format.

Under the new plan, the show will be just three days long, instead of the usual 15, and will be open only to members of the press.

The reimagined event would be staged at the show’s usual Palexpo venue on the outskirts of the Swiss city, using a mixture of physical and virtual elements, including 30-minute press conferences held live and broadcast online.

In a promotional brochure seen by Automotive News Europe, Palexpo said: “This period of transition presents an opportunity for us to reinvent our profession, evolve our events and create new platforms for bringing people together both in person and virtually.”

The GIMS Foundation has pitched the event to car makers, offering three packages ranging from 150,000 francs (around AUD$227,000) to 750,000 francs (AUD$1.2 million), but no manufacturer has confirmed participation yet.

The 150,000-franc package offers a one-car show stand with access for 10 media guests and a stage with an LED TV wall, with capacity increasing to up to four cars and 100 media guests for the more expensive packages.

Another hurdle for the show is that local health authorities need to approve it. Recent events including London’s Concours of Elegance have gone ahead but taken place at outdoor venues with limited capacity.

Since the last-minute nature of the cancellation of the 2020 Geneva motor show left many car makers facing huge losses, the future of the event has been unclear. The show was axed for 2021 (in its usual format) because the bulk of usual exhibitors had indicated that they wouldn’t attend.

The fate of Geneva has also raised concerns about the viability of motor shows more broadly. More and more car makers are experimenting with launching their cars through virtual platforms instead.

Earlier this year, Lamborghini announced that it would no longer attend high=profile motor shows. Instead, it will focus on bespoke events targeted directly at its customers.

Automotive Daily has contacted the GIMS Foundation for comment.

Will Trinkwon

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