As the coronavirus outbreak spreads, the auto industry was bracing for manufacturing delays. Now, the disruption has reached a new level: the Geneva International Motor Show, one of the largest and most important in the industry, has been canceled.
The cancelation was confirmed Friday morning by GIMS, less than a week before the marquee automotive event was set to begin and only three days before media members were set to arrive.
As CNN writes, “Switzerland’s Federal Office of Public Health on Friday said that gatherings of more than 1,000 people had been banned through at least March 15 in a bid to restrict the spread of the virus.”
“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.
The ripple effect this will likely have on car manufacturers around the world has yet to be seen, but the repercussions can be guessed at, and they’ll be substantial. First, there is the initial disappoint from automakers like Volkswagen, BMW, Porsche, Genesis and Mercedes-Benz who were set to unveil new models at the show.
In the long run, as CNN notes, the global car industry is facing “a third year of recession,” and the cancelation of events like this can only contribute to continued losses.
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