How successful was the 2024 Geneva International Motor Show?

08 March 2024

The Geneva International Motor Show (GIMS) returned to Switzerland this year, but was it a success? Autovista24 editor Tom Geggus discusses the event with special content editor Phil Curry, and director of business development at Autovista Group (now part of J.D. Power), Christof Ruhland.

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Show notes

Geneva International Motor Show gives glimpse of European automotive destiny

What does GIMS Qatar mean for the Geneva International Motor Show?

Was GIMS back to its best?

This year’s show was the first in Geneva after multiple cancellations following the COVID-19 pandemic, and a change in ownership. The abrupt nature of the event being called off in 2020 led to a dispute amongst car manufacturers set to attend. This meant trust needed to be rebuilt.

‘I do not think we expected GIMS 2024 to be on par with the last running in 2019, or even in the heydays before that,’ commented Curry. ‘There was a notable lack of big-name brands, and as Switzerland does not have any mainstream domestic carmakers, no one was compelled to be there.

‘However, I feel that if a show had not been run in 2024, then GIMS may never have returned to Geneva. So, this year’s event is, I believe, more of a placeholder, as organisers plan for the future of the show.’

Prior to this year’s event, the show’s new organisers launched GIMS Qatar which took place in November last year. This interactive festival of motoring may have been a source of inspiration for more engaging shows in future. Dates for 2025 have already been confirmed, with the show set to run between 17 and 23 February.

Do motor shows have a future?

Prior to COVID-19, motor show attendance was falling. Events have had to adapt to changing requirements, incorporating interactivity and bringing the future to customers.

‘Do motor shows in Europe have a future?’ questioned Ruhland. ‘I had the opportunity to visit the Shanghai Motor Show last year, and it was a much bigger event, with a lot of manufacturers and a lot of visitors.

‘This is something I really cannot see here for the events in Europe at the moment, but I hope the answer is yes,’ he added.

Chinese carmakers benefitted from a smaller GIMS this year, taking to the spotlight in the absence of so many European competitors. Both MG and BYD used Geneva to showcase new models, as well as highlighting vehicles closer to launch.

‘This focus on China at GIMS 2024 may entice bigger European brands back for future events,’ added Curry. ‘Carmakers such as Volkswagen Group, Mercedes-Benz, BMW Group and Stellantis may not want to miss out when their cheaper competition is there with directly-competing models.’

Stars of the show

The biggest talking point of GIMS 2024 was the launch of the new Renault 5. Now a battery-electric vehicle, the concept stayed true to the original model as a small, more affordable car for the masses.

‘The clear highlight of the show for me was the return of the Renault 5,’ commented Ruhland. ‘A retro design, it really looked like the concept model the carmaker introduced around two years ago. It was really good to see it live and in colour.’

‘If we move to Lucid, the highlight was clearly the Gravity,’ continued Ruhland. ‘It was not the world premiere, but it was the European premiere. This is a seven-seater, full-electric luxury SUV, which will be launched next year in 2025.’

MG models stand out

Front and centre of the MG stand was the carmaker’s new Cyberster. The roadster has already made its global debut and is expected to launch in Europe soon.

‘It was my first time seeing the Cyberster,’ added Ruhland. ‘I was asking myself, why is MG the first manufacturer that is offering an electric cabriolet, as it must be nice to enjoy an electric car without a roof over your head!’

MG also bought its new MG3 to GIMS. This was a next-generation version of one of the carmaker’s relaunch models, following its acquisition by SAIC.

‘This is the first time we have seen the MG3 without its 1.5-litre petrol-only engine,’ Curry stated. ‘The new model has a 1.5-litre petrol hybrid powertrain, which gives MG an opportunity to offer electrified motoring to a wider audience.

‘This version features a 1.8kWh battery and has the ability to drive on electric-power only and have the internal-combustion engine recharge the unit. It is a good update to what has been a popular model, one which has been rather overshadowed by the MG4 more recently.’

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