Car Industry

This year's Geneva Motor Show canceled amid coronavirus concerns

The Swiss government has banned all events of 1,000 people or more, fearing the events increase the risk of spreading COVID-19.

A look at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show.
Andrew Hoyle/Roadshow
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The 2020 Geneva Motor Show was officially canceled on Friday, following an order from the Swiss government banning events of 1,000 people or more. "Large-scale events involving more than 1,000 people are to be banned," according to an official statement, and this edict remains in effect until March 15.

The cancellation comes amid growing concerns regarding the spread of the coronavirus, and the Swiss government confirms as much. "In view of the current situation and the spread of the coronavirus, the federal council has categorized the situation in Switzerland as 'special' in terms of the Epidemics Act," the Swiss government said.

"We regret to announce the 2020 Geneva Motor Show will be canceled," a spokesperson for the event said in a press conference Friday. "The situation changed with the appearance of the first confirmed coronavirus diseases in Switzerland and the injunction of the Federal Council on Feb. 28. The event is canceled due to this decision," according to a statement.

The show will not be rescheduled, with organizers saying the event is "too big to postpone." The show was originally expected to kick off next week, with the first press day taking place on Tuesday, March 3.

"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 massively in their presence in Geneva. However, we are convinced that they will understand this decision," Maurice Turrettini, chairman of the Geneva Motor Show foundation board, said in a statement.

A number of big-deal debuts were planned for the Geneva Motor Show, including the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, Volkswagen Golf GTI and more. Some automakers have confirmed to Roadshow that details of their yet-to-be-seen debuts will still be released as planned, while others are holding off until further notice.

This isn't the first major event to be canceled in lieu of the coronavirus. Earlier this month, the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona was axed, as well as the Facebook F8 developer conference. The Beijing Motor Show, originally scheduled for April, has been put on hold as well.

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Originally published Feb. 28, 2:56 a.m. PT.
Update, 3:17 a.m.: Adds additional statement from Geneva Motor Show officials.