Swiss Government Puts Kibosh on Geneva Motor Show

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
swiss government puts kibosh on geneva motor show

The Swiss city of Geneva will not see crowds of international visitors descend on the continent’s premier auto show next week. Instead, ticket holders will stay home, waiting for a refund, while automakers swallow their losses.

Blame lies on the country’s government, which on Friday banned gatherings of 1,000 people or more in the face of a growing viral epidemic.

As reported by The Guardian, the Swiss cabinet passed the ban as an emergency measure. Some 15 cases of coronavirus (aka COVID-19) have appeared in the country, including some in the city of Geneva.

The city lies not too far from a coronavirus hot spot in northern Italy.

“In view of the current situation and the spread of the coronavirus, the federal council has categorised the situation in Switzerland as ‘special’ in terms of the Epidemics Act,”, the Swiss cabinet said Friday. The ban on large events is immediate, running until “at least” March 15th. In its 90th year, the Geneva Motor Show was to open to journalists and industry brass on March 2nd and wrap up public viewings on the 15th.

Automakers were paring back attendees in the days leading up to the announcement, preparing to send only business-critical employees to the show to limit exposure to — and spread of — the virus. Last year, the show attracted roughly 600,000 visitors to the city.

While ticket holders will be refunded, automakers’ fees will not. The organizing body expects a $2.2 million loss.

“We regret this situation, but the health of all participants is our and our exhibitors’ top priority,” said Maurice Turrettini, the chairman of the show’s board. “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.”

Automakers will now have to find another way to reveal their newest products. A flurry of debuts had been scheduled for March 3rd.

World markets reacted violently to the growing global outbreak on Thursday, with the Dow plunging 1,200 points. It fell another 1,000 points in early Friday trading, contributing to a global loss of $5 trillion. As it stands, this week has been the market’s worst since the onset of the Great Recession.

Throughout the auto industry, worries about further supply chain disruption, idled plants, and a worse-then-projected sales year are, like cases of coronavirus, on the rise.

[Image: GIMS]

Join the conversation
  • MaintenanceCosts Despite my hostile comments above I really can't wait to see a video of one of these at the strip. A production car running mid-eights is just bats. I just hope that at least one owner lets it happen, rather than offloading the car from the trailer straight into a helium-filled bag that goes into a dark secured warehouse until Barrett-Jackson 2056.
  • Schurkey Decades later, I'm still peeved that Honda failed to recall and repair the seat belts in my '80 Civic. Well-known issue with the retractors failing to retract.Honda cut a deal with the NHTSA at that time, to put a "lifetime warranty" on FUTURE seat belts, in return for not having to deal with the existing problems.Dirtbags all around. Customers screwed, corporation and Government moves on.
  • Bullnuke An acquaintance of mine 50+ years ago who was attending MIT (until General Hershey's folks sent him his "Greetings" letter) converted an Austin Mini from its staid 4 cylinder to an electric motored fuel cell vehicle. It was done as a project during his progression toward a Master Degree in Electrical Engineering. He told me it worked pretty well but wasn't something to use as a daily driver given the technology and availability of suitable components of the time. Fueling LH2 and LOX was somewhat problematic. Upon completion he removed his fuel cell and equipment and, for another project, reinstalled the 4 banger but reassembled it without mechanical fasteners using an experimental epoxy adhesive instead which, he said, worked much better and was a daily driver...for awhile. He went on to be an enlisted Reactor Operator on a submarine for a few years.
  • Ajla $100k is walking around money but this is almost certainly the last Dodge V8 vehicle and it's likely to be the most powerful factory-installed and warrantied pushrod engine ever. So there is some historical applicability to things even if you have an otherwise low opinion of the Challenger.And, like I said up thread, if you still hate it will be gone soon anyway.
  • Carlson Fan GM completely blew the marketing of the Volt. The commercials were terrible. You'd swear they told the advertising company to come up with an ad that would make sure no one went out and shopped a Volt after seeing it!...........LOL My buddy asked why I bought a car that only goes 40 miles on a charge? That pretty much sums up how confusing and uninformative the advertising was.