Coronavirus crisis threatens already downbeat Geneva Motor Show, says GlobalData

Following the news that this year’s Beijing auto show – planned for April – is being postponed due to the coronavirus health crisis;

David Leggett, Automotive Editor at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, offers his view:

“The coronavirus public health crisis alone puts a big question-mark next to this year’s Geneva Motor Show, scheduled for March. The organisers will be closely monitoring the crisis, as will exhibitors. If one or two exhibitors decide the health risks to staff are too high, that will likely trigger more to withdraw until the show looks unsustainable.

“But the truth is, big motor shows are losing favour anyway as big marketing opportunities for the car companies. Falling visitor numbers suggest that enthusiasts and potential car buyers are less inclined to attend.

Brands that will not be present at Geneva this year include Cadillac, Citroen, Ford, Jaguar, Lamborghini, Land Rover, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Opel, Peugeot, Subaru, Tata and Volvo – that is quite a long list.

“Thanks to the internet and burgeoning news and car websites, new models have been seen online well in advance. Car shows are also expensive places to exhibit at and the old ‘A-list’ circuit – Geneva, Paris, Frankfurt, Detroit and Tokyo – has been supplemented by increasing competition from shows in emerging markets where presence has been seen as more future-facing. That creates additional pressure on marketing budgets.

“Indeed, companies such as Ford have re-examined their marketing budgets and strategies, now favouring big dedicated major model launch events that they can get many journalists to for maximised media coverage.”

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