Geneva auto show to go ahead in 2022 with new format

Organizers of the Geneva auto show said the event will go ahead next February, after two years of forced cancellations due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The GIMS Foundation, the organization behind the show, said it would give exhibitors until mid-July to register for the event.

The show will be open to the public Feb. 19-27, GIMS said in a statement.

Automakers were forced to switch to internet livestreaming to show off their new cars when the 2020 show was canceled at short notice during the first wave of the pandemic.

The trend is accelerating and threatening the business model of auto shows, which involve heavy investments for the companies taking part.

“We don’t know what the situation will be in February, but it looks like things will be back to normal in September and we are hoping things will stay that way,” GIMS CEO Sandro Mesquita told Automotive News Europe in a telephone interview.

He said the show was moved to February from its usual timing in March due to the changing events calendar of Palexpo, the organization that owns the venue where the show takes place.

Mesquita said the 2022 show will provide GIMS with an opportunity to showcase the digital innovations that were planned for the canceled shows last year and this year.

He acknowledged that the coronavirus has accelerated the digital shift across trade shows of all kinds and said GIMS plans to use digital tools to expand the reach of the event and provide new experiences that bring together the virtual and the physical.

“We already know our show will be a kind of hybrid show,” he said. “Digital is important and will play a role in our show, however, physical contact is something that is also important, and our exhibitors are looking for that.”

In 2019, about 660,000 people attended the Geneva show and the exhibition generated an estimated 200 to 250 million Swiss francs ($205 to $256 million) worth of business, Reuters reported.


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