Geneva International Motor Show 2022 cancelled

08 October 2021

The Geneva International Motor Show (GIMS) will not take place in February 2022, as originally planned. Organisers have cited a mix of COVID-19 restrictions and the semiconductor shortage as reasons for the cancellation.

The news means GIMS will next take place in 2023, leaving a four-year gap between events. In that time, the show has changed organisers, having refused terms from a loan from the Canton of Geneva.

No alternative

A statement from the foundation Comité permanent du Salon international de l’automobile said that the decision was made with the best interests of vehicle manufacturers and automotive fans in mind. Direct and indirect issues related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic left the organisers ‘with no alternative’.

One problem highlighted was the continued trouble with travel restrictions for international exhibitors, visitors and journalists. Interestingly, the organisers also cited the ongoing semiconductor shortage as another reason, with manufacturers having to prioritise finding solutions to this issue and limiting the financial impact. These issues have led to ‘several recent cancellations’, which resulted in the final confirmation of the show’s postponement.

‘Many exhibitors have indicated that the uncertainties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic make it impossible for them to make a firm commitment for GIMS 2022,’ commented Sandro Mesquita, CEO of the Geneva International Motor Show. ‘On top of this is the negative impact that the current shortage of semiconductors has on car manufacturers. The chip crisis is likely to drag on well into next year, with negative financial implications for OEMs.

‘In these uncertain times, many brands are therefore unable to make a commitment to participate in a trade fair that would have taken place in just over four months. When considering all the factors, it became clear that it was necessary to postpone the show.’

Type of event

The news comes a month after the IAA Mobility event took place in Munich. While the German show was a mixture of indoor and outdoor exhibitions, including a test-drive area and demonstrations throughout the city, GIMS is a traditional indoor event, with static stands and multiple exhibition halls, likely playing host to thousands of attendees.

Since early September, the number of new infections has slowly fallen in the country, according to the SWI website. On 6 October, the seven-day average of new daily infections was down to 1,026, a 21% drop compared with the previous week. But this is ‘a brief respite’, according to Virginie Masserey, head of the infectious diseases section at the Federal Office of Public Health. ‘We need to make the most of this period to boost our immunity,’ she said.

To access an indoor space in Switzerland, non-natives will need to apply for a Swiss-compliant COVID-19 certificate. Access will be granted to a central electronic registration office from 11 October to make this easier for those entering the country who need to access indoor spaces.

‘This will enable people who have been vaccinated or have recovered abroad to upload the information and documents required for the certificate to be issued,’ the government stated.

Yet, it appears organisers have decided to wait for the situation to become more manageable and will be hoping that the show will be risk-free in 2023. There is also the possibility that organisers may use the extra time to evaluate the GIMS format and look to introduce some form of interactivity along the lines of that seen at IAA Mobility.

‘We have pushed very hard and tried everything to reactivate the Geneva International Motor Show in 2022’, said Maurice Turrettini, president of the Comité permanent du Salon international de l’automobile. ‘Despite all our efforts, we have to face the facts and the reality: the pandemic situation is not under control and presents itself as a big threat for a large indoor event like GIMS. But we see this decision as a postponement rather than a cancellation. I am confident that the Geneva International Motor Show will come back stronger than ever in 2023.’