2021 Geneva Motor Show Could Go On After All, But Not For The General Public: Report

Next year's show could be a media-only event

The current global situation completely wrecked the 2020 auto show calendar, including Geneva. While this year’s show was abruptly cancelled in March, organizers decided to cancel the 2021 Geneva Motor Show as well back in June. Now, it turns out an event may go on in 2021 after all, but there’s a twist — members of the general public won’t be able to attend.

At least, that is the case if documents seen by Automotive News Europe ultimately play out. Instead, 2021 Geneva Motor Show organizers are offering automakers an “all-inclusive package that covers the cost of their stands and accommodations for guests”, their report says. The event would be strictly limited to the media, and as such the entire event would span just three days. Semi-private firm Palexpo would host the event, but apparently does not own the show outright after refusing to pay a 15 million Swiss franc ($16.5 million) sum to buy the rights to the show. Packages for manufacturers range from 150,000 to 750,000 francs (about $165,000 to $825,000) to display up to four vehicles and invite up to 100 guests at the higher end.

As it stands, no companies have confirmed their involvement in a 2021 Geneva Motor Show event.

What about the future of motor shows?

The coronavirus pandemic upended not only this year’s events, but could permanently change the landscape for auto shows in the future as well. Even before now, automakers were already wavering on their commitment to large, centralized events like Geneva.

In the future, companies could continue to host standalone events. That’s what many planned in lieu of competing against each other for coverage in past auto shows. What’s more, digital reveals are far less resource-intensive to organize, and could become the norm even as everyday life returns to normal. We’ll have to wait and see, and will post updates if and when automakers join in on future auto shows.