For the first time since the second world war, the Geneva Motor Show has been canceled. It was supposed to be the 90th running of the auto show this year and it was only a few days before its opening on March 3. This is due to the fact that the Swiss Government has called for a ban on large public events.
The Swiss health authority announced that “Large-scale events involving more that 1,000 people are to be banned. The ban comes into immediate effect and will apply at least until 15 March 2020”. They then added, “The Federal Council's top priority is to protect the population. It is responding to the latest developments in the coronavirus epidemic and has categorized the situation in Switzerland as 'special' in therms of the Epidemics Act”.
Earlier this week, Switzerland just had their first confirmed case of coronavirus. With that, it seems that their government isn't taking any chances. The Geneva Motor show sees over half a million visitors from around the world each year. Given the current situation, there is an extremely high chance of infection.
The Geneva Motor Show is one of the biggest auto exhibitions in the world, serving as a launch pad for many significant cars that will not only be sold in Europe, but worldwide as well. Prior to this, the organizers were still hopeful that the show will go on, stating that they were, “carefully observing the situation and its possible implications for its employees, exhibitors, and visitors” at the time. Now, the organizers have said the cancelation of the event was "force majeure". With the government mandate in place, the organizers have no choice but to comply. They added that it is not possible to move it at a later date.
Over 60 vehicles were supposed to make their global or European debuts at Geneva in a few days. Some of these include the BMW M340d, the updated Civic Type R, Hyundai i20 and i30, Kia Sorento, and the yet-to-be-named Toyota subcompact crossover, just to name a few.