Geneva Motor Show cancelled for 2021, too

Geneva Motor Show cancelled for 2021, too
This file photo taken on March 3, 2015 shows a general view taken during the official press day at the 85th Geneva International Motor Show at the Palexpo fairground in Geneva.Richard Juilliart / Getty Images

The foundation behind the Geneva Motor Show called off plans to resume Switzerland’s largest public event next year after a majority of exhibitors said they probably wouldn’t participate.

The decision puts to rest a controversy that ensued after organizers were offered about 11 million Swiss francs (US$11.6 million) in state aid on the condition that the show resume for 2021. The foundation that runs the show said in a statement that it will instead sell the rights to the show to Palexpo SA, the exhibition center that hosts the event.

“The automotive sector is currently going through a difficult phase, and exhibitors need time to recover from the effects of the pandemic,” the foundation said Monday. The organizers added that it is “far from certain” that the public health situation in March will allow for an event to be held that attracts 600,000 visitors and 10,000 journalists.

The foundation was one of dozens of organizations in and around Geneva — home to the World Health Organization — that canceled or suspended major public events early this year as the novel coronavirus spread rapidly across Europe, costing sponsors and participants hundreds of millions of dollars. UEFA has postponed the Euro 2020 soccer championships to next year, while the International Olympic Committee has pushed the Tokyo games back to 2021.

The Geneva car show foundation has been seeking financing from banks and investors to survive, its director Sandro Mesquita told the Swiss newspaper L’Agefi earlier this month. Failure to do so could result in the whole event company being put up for sale, he said.

Executives from the world’s major carmakers, including Volkswagen and Toyota , usually attend the Geneva show, which was first staged in 1905. Before this year, the expo was last canceled during World War II and its aftermath.
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