Who killed the Geneva motor show?


While Renault and a handful of Chinese brands exhibited in neutral Switzerland this year, the bulk of the European industry sat back. In fact, Fiat even released a whole bunch of Panda concepts the night before the show in what clearly seemed a ‘show spoiler’.

Then again, that Fiat release hinted at another truth learned in the four years Geneva didn’t run: in an era when they can target consumers directly with social media and video, manufacturers don’t really need motor shows any more.

In fact, some are just holding their own: Toyota, Polestar and Kia have all staged events that allow journalists to get motor show-style access in a bespoke format.

The Geneva release also blames the industry uncertainty and wider financial challenges. That’s undoubtedly true, given the ongoing push to electrification and all the financial challenges post-pandemic have upended the car world no end.

But that could also be seen as an opportunity: car firms are pushing out vast amounts of new models with all manner of powertrains; surely enough to save some back for a press day in Geneva?

So what did kill the Geneva show? Aloof organisers, obstinate manufacturers, a global financial slowdown, the fallout from a pandemic, or just plain apathy? In truth, it’s likely a little of all those things. And, really, no matter how hard the organisers tried this year, it felt like this was the inevitable outcome.



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