Geneva Motor Show Is Canceled and Up for Sale. Are Others Next?

The international auto show is not returning until at least 2022

Workers dismantle the Ferrari stand the the 2020 Geneva International Motor Show
The Geneva International Motor Show was canceled at the last minute due to the pandemic.
RICHARD JUILLIART/AFP via Getty Images
By Alex Lauer / June 30, 2020 1:44 pm

The last-minute cancellation of the Geneva International Motor Show, one of the largest and most prestigious car shows in the world, was one of the first moves by a major international event that signaled the coming coronavirus spread. But that eleventh-hour decision in February was supposed to be a fluke. Unfortunately for Geneva, and the industry at large, the show’s woes have only just begun. 

According to the organizers, not only is the Geneva Motor Show canceled for 2021, but the group is looking to sell off the show entirely. 

A press release from the Committee and Council of the Foundation “Salon International de l’Automobile” notes that the organizers surveyed automakers and other participants about their willingness to return to Geneva, but a majority responded “they would probably not participate in a 2021 edition” and “would prefer to have a GIMS in 2022.” 

The organization made two other important announcements: It will not be accepting a loan from the State of Geneva (partially because it won’t be holding an event in 2021), and thus it is looking to sell the assets to a party “that will ensure the regular organization of an International Motor Show in Geneva.” Currently, it’s hoping to sell GIMS to the owners of the Palexpo convention center where the auto show is normally held.

“As a reminder, GIMS is the largest public event in Switzerland,” the organizers wrote. Unfortunately, that may not be enough to save GIMS or many of the other auto shows that canceled or moved online during the COVID-19 fallout.

As we saw both in the immediate aftermath of Geneva and in more recent releases like the new Ford F-150, automakers have been able to quickly shift to an online-only release model for new vehicles, and the benefits of exhibiting at car shows may no longer be worth the top dollar they’ve paid for years. 

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