The 2020 Geneva Motor Show has been scrapped, as the Swiss government, on Friday, put a ban on all big events scheduled over the next couple of weeks due to concerns over coronavirus. The Geneva Motor Show is a marquee event in the annual calendar of global carmakers, where several new models are launched every year.
The cancellation has now put several carmakers in a strange situation, with many contemplating cancelling scheduled launches.The announcement comes at a time when the global auto industry is already going through a crisis and is bracing for a third year of recession owing to slowing sales of vehicles.
Coronavirus fears hit carmakers
The Swiss government on Friday decided to put a ban on all large events that attract footfall of more than 1,000 in a bid to contain the coronavirus. The Geneva Motor Show is certainly one of the biggest events that attract thousands every year. Switzerland's Federal Office of Public Health said that it has cancelled all such scheduled events through at least March 15, as more reports of coronavirus came in from Europe.
The 2020 Geneva Motor Show was scheduled to start form Monday and was to be on till March 15. The show, which would have been its 90th edition, was expected to be attended by around 160 exhibitors, who were scheduled to showcase their cars in multiple launch events. "We regret this situation, but the health of all participants is our and our exhibitors' top priority," read a statement from Palexpo, the car show's organizer.
More coronavirus cases are being reported from Europe every day. Switzerland confirmed coronavirus cases have shot to 15, while 650 have been affected in Italy, with 17 having died in the last few days. France has also reported 38 confirmed cases with two deaths. Given this situation, the Swiss government's announcement is definitely a preventive measure but at the same time has landed carmakers in soup.
Carmakers feel the heat
The announcement of the scrapping of the auto show is definitely going to put carmakers in trouble. Following the announcement, carmakers scrambled to reorganise press conference and their scheduled car launches. A number of new models are launched at the marquee show in Geneva every year which attracts more than 60,000 visitors on average.
Fiat Chrysler, which was planning to showcase am electric Fiat 500, says that it doesn't have any alternate plans now. BMW, on the other hand, said that it will go ahead with the unveiling of its Concept i4 through a live-streamed event.
Volkswagen-owned Audi too is contemplating using digital medium to launch its Audi A3 sportback and Audi e-Tron S. Ferrari doesn't have any alternate plans to showcase its cars, while DS, a part of the PSA Groupe, was looking for an alternate venue near Paris to show its new concept car. Needless to say, the eleventh hour decision to call of the show has further escalated the worries of carmakers.