The 2020 Geneva motor show has been cancelled, due to a ban imposed by the Swiss government on gatherings of 1000 people or more.
In a statement released on Friday night, the Swiss Federal Council said: “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. Large-scale events involving more than 1000 people are to be banned. The ban comes into immediate effect and will apply at least until 15 March.”
The ban was introduced in response to the coronavirus pandemic in an effort to slow the spread of the virus across Europe. The current tally in northern Italy has hundreds of confirmed cases and over a dozen people dead, while France has seventeen confirmed cases and suffered two deaths so far.
Doors to the 90th Geneva Motorshow were to be opened to public from March 5-15. In 2019, more than 600,000 people attended the Geneva motor show.
Before the virus reached Europe, a number of brands had already pulled out of the Geneva Motorshow for this year, including Citroen, Ford, Jaguar, Lamborghini, Land Rover, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Opel, Peugeot, Subaru and Volvo.
It’s not uncommon for car makers to back away from traditional motor show formats in recent years. This comes as a result of high mounting display costs and most of manufacturers’ budgets being tied into development of electric vehicles. With EVs becoming more and more popular, manufacturers are scrabbling to develop their projects in short periods of time.
“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 injunction 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.”