Swiss authorities force cancellation of Geneva car show due to coronavirus

Lamborghini Centenario images

Automakers were scrambling to reorganize press conferences and car presentations following Swiss authorities forced cancellation of the Geneva car show on Friday in an attempt to contain the coronavirus.

Over 160 exhibitors were set to show off their cars and services at the 90th Geneva Motor Show, which was going to start on Monday and last until March 15.

BMW and Mercedes-Benz stated they would use live-streaming to present the BMW Concept i4 and a renovated Mercedes E-Class.

Ferrari does not prepare to arrange alternative events, and Fiat Chrysler stated it had no plan B, but that it was thinking about ways to show off a new electric Fiat 500.

French brand DS, part of PSA Group stated it was seeking a venue close to Paris to showcase a new concept car and was rearranging interviews with executives by telephone.

Audi, a premium brand of Volkswagen, stated it would seek to use digital channels to introduce its Audi A3 sportback and Audi e-Tron S.

Switzerland on Friday banned large events expected to draw over 1,000 people to try to curb a coronavirus outbreak that has spread from China throughout the world.

“We regret this situation, but the health of all participants is our and our exhibitors’ top priority. This is a case of force majeure and a tremendous loss for the manufacturers who have invested a lot in their presence in Geneva,” stated Maurice Turrettini, Chairman of the Geneva International Motor Show Foundation Board.

In 2019, 660,000 people visited the Geneva show and the exhibition generated an estimated 200-250 million Swiss francs ($205-$256 million) worth of business

Visitors who purchased tickets will be refunded, although exhibitors will not, given it was the health officials, rather than organizers Palexpo, who called off the event.

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