The Geneva International Motor Show was scheduled to open next week, beginning with media days on Monday and Tuesday. But the government of Switzerland has issued an order banning any public assembly of 1,000 people or more due to the coronavirus epidemic until at least March 15, and so there will simply be no show this year.
The cancellation announcement was made in a press release on February 28.
The 90th edition of the GIMS, which was supposed to welcome the media from next Monday and the general public from 5 to 15 March 2020, will now finally not take place. This is an injonction decision of the Federal Council of 28 February 2020 that no events with more than 1,000 people are allowed to take place until 15 March 2020. The decision falls 3 days before the opening of the exhibition to the media.
The organizers accept this decision: “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. We would like to warmly thank all those involved in the organisation of the 2020 edition of GIMS.
A few days before the opening of the event, the construction of the stands was very nearly complete. A week ago, during the press conferences announcing the 2020 edition, there was nothing to suggest that such a measure was necessary. The situation changed with the appearance of the first confirmed coronavirus diseases in Switzerland and the injonction of the Federal Council on 28.02.2020. The event is cancelled due to this decision.
In the meantime, the dismantling of the event will now have to be organised. The financial consequences for all those involved in the event are significant and will need to be assessed over the coming weeks. One thing is certain: tickets already purchased for the event will be refunded. The organisers will communicate about this as soon as possible, via their website.
When Motor 1 asked whether the show could be rescheduled, the organizers replied, “The show cannot be postponed. It’s not possible. It’s too big. In September, October? It’s not feasible.”
One of the highlights of the Geneva show each year is the announcement of the Car Of The Year award, which was scheduled to take place on March 2. Apparently there will be no COTY award this year, or if there is one, it will be done online. Electric cars were set to be the stars of the show this year. Now that won’t happen.
Manufacturers spend millions on auto shows every year. Perhaps this experience will convince more of them to do their introductions online as the world transitions to a new paradigm in which virtual reality supersedes traditional reality which is becoming so passé.
Concerns about the coronavirus are disrupting people’s lives all around the world. Rumors from Japan hint that the 2020 Summer Olympics may be cancelled. Formula 1 is considering cancelling races in Australia, China, and Vietnam that occur early in this year’s racing schedule. Will the spread of the virus help us all to realize we occupy the same planet and must work together to solve common problems while there is still time? Not if history provides any useful clues to the future.
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