Geneva motor show organisers “very uncertain” of 2021 return

Show organisers waive offer of loan from Canton of Geneva due to conditions attached to it

The organisers of the Geneva motor show have withdrawn their application for financial support from the Canton of Geneva following the cancellation of this year’s event.

The Geneva State Council had offered a loan of 16.8 million francs (AUD$26 million), but The Foundation of the Geneva International Motor Show (FGIMS) has deemed the terms ‘contradictory’ to its values and has waived the loan.

The 2020 Geneva motor show was among the first high-profile European automotive events to be cancelled as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, with the local government banning public gatherings just four days before it was scheduled to begin at the Palexpo exhibition centre on 5 March.

In an official statement, FGIMS said the decision meant its financial situation was “thus severely weakened”, and requested financial aid from the Canton of Geneva to recoup its losses – estimated at 11m francs (AUD$17 million) – and to help prepare for next year’s event.

The organisation said that the conditions attached to the loan “aim to completely outsource the show including its conceptualisation to Palexpo SA”, and “are not acceptable to the foundation. In fact, they are in contradiction to the statutes and especially to the purpose of the foundation formulated more than 100 years ago.”

The statement also cast doubt on whether the event will go ahead in 2021: “Furthermore, the organisation of the event in 2021 – a condition linked to the urgency clause of the draft legislation – is very uncertain at the moment.”

Several exhibitors are said to be campaigning for the next event to be held in 2022, while FGIMS plans to “restore financial stability as quickly as possible and to be able to organise a follow-up edition”.

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