Coronavirus threat cancels 90th annual Geneva motor show

Major international auto show was to start in 3 days

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The Czinger 21C hypercard was among the vehicles to be unveiled next week at the 90th Geneva International Motor Show | Czinger Vehicles photo

The display stands are nearly finished and the show was to begin Monday, March 5, but a decision taken Friday by the Federal Council of Switzerland means the 90th Geneva International Motor Show will not take place. 

The council ruled that no events involving more than 1,000 people will be allowed in Switzerland until after March 15, which would have been the final day of the show.

Swiss officials have faced the cancellation of the 90th edition of the Geneva International Motor Show | Motor Show photo

“We regret this situation, but the health of everyone involved is an absolute priority for us and our exhibitors,” Maurice Turrettini, president of the motor show board of trustees, said in a statement. “This is a case of force majeure

“For the exhibitors who are massive in their presence, investing in Geneva is a huge loss, but we are confident that everyone affected will understand this decision, and we thank everyone who has worked to implement this 90th edition. GIMS 2020 could have been a great event.”

Show officials said the construction of the various and often massive automaker display stands was nearly completed. At a news conference a week ago, show officials said there was nothing to suggest the show should be delayed.

However, that changed with the first confirmed illnesses from the coronavirus in Switzerland and led to the decision of the Federal Council’s decision.

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“The dismantling must now be organized,” show officials said in a statement. “The financial consequences for everyone involved in the event are significant and will be assessed in the coming weeks. One thing is certain: The tickets sold for the event will be refunded. The organizers will provide information about the procedure on their website as soon as possible.”

Citroen’s AMI One C is 2-seat electric vehicle that would require no driver’s license in France (anyone at least 14 years of age would be eligible to drive), and where it can be rented for around $25 a month

Among the major new-car unveilings that were scheduled for the 90th edition of one of the world’s major auto show was the 8th-generation Volkswagen Golf GTI, Citroen’s electric Ami, the Apex AP-0 concept car, the 2-seat Bentley Mulliner Bacalar, the Pininfarina Battista, the high-performance Hispano Suiza Carmen Boulogne, the new Skoda Octavia, the DS Aero Sport Lounge, the Rinspeed MetroSnap, the Czinger 21C hypercar, and many others.

Also scheduled for the show was an appearance by the Tesla-powered 1949 Mercury “Derelict” American-built coupe by Icon 4×4.

Porsche was to unveil its new 911 at the show, but has announced that instead it will do a livestream web presentation of the car on March 3 at 10:10 a.m. Central European Time.

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A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

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