The Geneva motor show hasn’t run since 2019
Europe’s biggest motoring event, back after five-year absence, “will not be a mobility show”
The Geneva motor show will return next year in a slimmed-down revamped format that will have “the car at the centre”, according to organisers.
The long-running Swiss event hasn’t run for the past four years, after the 2020 edition was cancelled due to the pandemic and “uncertainties in the global economy” prevented a 2023 comeback.
Geneva International Motor Show (GIMS) recently staged its first event since 2019 with a new Geneva-branded spin-off show in Qatar. That is intended to be a biennial event, while the plan is for the main Geneva show to run every year.
The 2024 event is scheduled for 25 February to 3 March, and boss Sandro Mesquita has told Autocar “there is no doubt at all” that it will go ahead. “It’s important to say it is confirmed,” he added. “The only question will be the size, because that will depend on the number [of manufacturers]. But we have enough responses to confirm we can move forward.”
While questions have been raised about the future of the event, Mesquita said: “I believe there is a place for the Geneva show in Europe. I was at the Paris show [in 2022] and in Munich, and Geneva remains different. We will continue to be a motor show with the car at the centre. We will not be a mobility show: that is not our DNA or vision. We will put the car at the centre, although we will welcome in the ecosystem around it, such as charging.”
Mesquita did acknowledge that the show will be smaller than in previous years and hinted at the challenges of reviving the event after a five-year break. “It’s the first time after the pandemic, so we need to restart the engine, “ he said. “We’re working to have a good quality of exhibitors. That’s the main objective.”
The main show will remain largely based in the traditional exhibition centre but Mesquita said it will be revamped to decrease costs and offer a better return on investment for exhibitors. Manufacturers can continue to have custom stands but can also buy “plug-and-play booths”.
Mesquita said: “We will have four sizes, and exhibitors rent the stand and can then personalise it with their corporate identity.”
The key, he said, is offering a variety of ways to draw in manufacturers at various price points but ensuring they can highlight their products.
“We know stands are a big investment,” he said. “We never asked them to build cathedrals, but we understand they may want to keep control of their image so we won’t impose plug-and-play booths for everyone. At the end of the day, what’s important is the product. That’s the hero so we want to give them the best platform to showcase it.”