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Coronavirus Cancels the Geneva Auto Show

The media has exploded with continuous coverage of the latest news regarding the Coronavirus. In addition to the latest reported cases, political insights, and global preparedness for the outbreak, another victim has made the headlines. The Geneva Auto Show is officially canceled, due to concerns of exposures and health preservation. We wanted to learn more about the Geneva Auto Show itself and see if they have backup plans to reschedule the event.

Why officials are canceling the show

To be clear, the Swiss authorities are responsible for the cancellation, not the Geneva Auto Show Board. Chairman, Maurice Turrettini, shared the board’s announcement comes on the heels of the decision rendered by the federal government. In fact, the Swiss government is banning any events with potential attendees in numbers over 1,000 until March 15th.

The Geneva Auto Show intended to open the first week of March. But because the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) has spread throughout Europe in recent weeks, including 15 confirmed cases in Switzerland, authorities insisted the show be canceled.

An additional 500 potential cases have also presented there and are being tested due to displaying possible symptoms. There have been almost 3,000 deaths worldwide, although centered primarily in China. Other global event cancellations due to the potential spread of the virus include Barcelona’s Mobile World Congress, Facebook’s Developer Conference in California, and the Chinese Grand Prix race in April.

A little Geneva Auto Show history

The Geneva Auto Show has been a globally attractive event since its first date in 1905. This show is a gathering of all the major automakers, and plenty of newcomers, ready to show off their new vehicles and innovations.

Dream cars and concepts all made their grand entrances at the Geneva Auto Show. The world’s most exclusive, and often most expensive cars get their time in the spotlight in Geneva. Even the more mainstream models get to show off here. This year’s event was supposed to open up to journalists on March 2nd, and to the public from March 5th through the 15th.

Will there be a new date announced?

The dismantling of the show begins now. The Car of the Year Award Ceremony, originally intended to be the kick-off event, might be on hold indefinitely. The 220 exhibitors, 10,000 journalists, and more than 600,000 show visitors want to know if officials intend to reschedule.

Many of the exhibiting automakers have plans to launch virtual tours of their latest models next week. Some say it is more likely that a virtual auto show will be this year’s best bet.

Better safe than sorry

While extremely disappointing for so many, the organizers of the Geneva Auto Show accept the government’s decision to cancel. Board members cite the “health of all participants” is everyone’s top priority. Manufacturers globally have suffered dramatically with the latest attempts to stop the spread of the Coronavirus.

It’s disheartening to many to cancel yet another industry-related event, considering some already suggest the global auto market is already recessing. Plant closures and snared supply chains are already affected this year by the virus. This adds insult to injury when the major world markets are down to 90.3 million in sales, which is almost four million short of 2018.

As far as we know, the show’s physical event is officially canceled. As automakers consider rolling out virtual releases of their latest showcase models, you may want to keep your eyes on the web for now. Should a newly digitized version of the auto show’s events, awards, and exhibits in their entirety, be announced, you can be sure to hear about it here.