The Geneva Motor Show Is Dead

The Geneva Motor Show Is Dead

Not that long ago, every March was an exciting time for car fans, as every major European manufacturer would head to Switzerland to show off their latest models at the Geneva Motor Show. Over the years, it’s played host to the launches of some truly iconic cars, but now, after a period of decline, its organisers have decided to call it quits.

The future of the motor show in general has been up in the air for a while as more and more manufacturers choose the more cost-effective option of doing major car reveals online, but for Geneva, COVID-19 was a massive blow. The 2020 edition was cancelled literally at the last minute, with many of the exhibitors already set up, due to the pandemic’s onset.

Citroen's stand at Geneva 2019

Citroen’s stand at Geneva 2019

It wasn’t held again until this year, but on a much smaller scale with Renault the only major European manufacturer to show up. After a year where the event was a shadow of its former self, its organisers, the snappily-named Comité permanent du Salon international de l’automobile Foundation, have confirmed that it won’t return.

Unsurprisingly, the decision to can the show hinges around a lack of manufacturer interest, especially amid “a difficult industry context.” Although Geneva’s past popularity with manufacturers was partially down to Switzerland being neutral ground for the car industry, the Comité also reckons manufacturers now prefer shows in their home countries, especially Paris and Munich.

Fiat's stand at Geneva 2006

Fiat’s stand at Geneva 2006

This isn’t quite the end of the Geneva Motor Show name. In 2023, a spinoff edition, slightly inexplicably still using the Geneva branding, was held in Doha, Qatar, and this will go ahead again in November 2025.

As the likes of New York and Beijing this year have shown, the traditional motor show still seems to have some life in it, but Geneva, which held its first motor show all the way back in 1905, clearly no longer has the lustre it once did for the car makers of Europe.

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