2021 Geneva Motor Show cancelled, put up for sale

Organisers have abandoned the event for a second year running after rejecting a loan from the Swiss government.

The organisers of the Geneva International Motor Show have announced the event will not go ahead in 2021 and placed the entire show up for sale, citing the ‘financial consequences’ of the coronavirus pandemic as the reason for the decision.

The Committee and Council of the Foundation “Salon International de l’Automobile”, which typically organises the annual event, said it had rejected a loan from the State of Geneva and would instead look to sell the show to Palexpo SA, the company that owns and operates the convention centre where the event is held.

The news follows the last-minute cancellation of this year’s Geneva Motor Show, which was scheduled to take place in April 2020, after Switzerland’s Federal Council decreed no events with more than 1000 people were permitted during the pandemic.

After the forced cancellation of the event, the Foundation requested compensation from the Swiss government to recoup its losses, which were estimated to total 11 million Swiss francs.

In response, the Canton of Geneva approved a loan of of 16.8 million Swiss francs, but with the conditions the event be held again in 2021 and the first loan repayment be made in June 2021 – terms the Foundation said it could not meet.

“The Foundation … does not see the terms of the loan as a guarantee of the long-term financial stability of the Foundation in its present form,” the organisers said in a statement, adding that they could not make the first repayment deadline because they would not have time to generate additional funds.

“It is also considered inadmissible that one condition of the loan is that an event has to be organized in 2021. The loan is therefore not accepted.”

After conducting a survey amongst exhibitors, the Foundation found “the majority” said “they would probably not participate in a 2021 edition and that they would prefer to have a GIMS in 2022” so they could have time to recover from the effects of the pandemic.

“Furthermore, it is far from certain that the current health situation would permit the organisation of an event attracting more than 600,000 visitors and 10,000 journalists next spring,” the Foundation said in a statement.

The Foundation concluded its statement on the cancellation by adding: “As a reminder, GIMS is the largest public event in Switzerland. Its economic impact on the canton of Geneva is estimated at some CHF 200 million (AUD$309.5 million) per year.”

The Geneva Motor Show has taken place in some form since 1905 and this year’s cancellation marked the first time it had been called off since World War Two.

The coronavirus pandemic also prompted the cancellation of this year’s New York Motor Show and Detroit Motor Show, and the permanent demise of the Frankfurt Motor Show.

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