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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Tornare

What Future For the Geneva International Motor Show (GIMS)?

The Geneva International Motor Show should have taken place at the end of February. However, it has been cancelled for the third consecutive year due to the health situation.

What does this mean for the future of the event?

Carequest car broker Switzerland, Geneva International Motor Show (GIMS)

The Geneva International Motor Show (GIMS) is one of the world's leading motor shows. It has an excellent reputation and is regularly chosen by manufacturers for world premieres. It also benefits from its location in a country without a large automotive industry.


Although there will be no Geneva Motor Show in 2022, the organisers have already announced the 2023 edition. This looks promising for the future of the event. However, the committee has to fight against many difficulties at the level of the show and the exhibitors, making the fate of the event uncertain...



Motor show

Trends

There are two main types of trends affecting motor shows:

  • The first is the ecological transition. Current movements are pushing the use of public transportation and the reduction of car traffic. The passion for cars seems to be on the decline. This is reflected in political decisions to make driving more expensive and to develop other transport infrastructures. From this point of view, car shows seem to be a thing of the past.


  • The second is the future of trade fairs. The pandemic has proven that many things can be done virtually. However, it has also shown the ravages of the lack of social interaction. Moreover, the experience of an event cannot be fully replicated virtually. Fairs, therefore, seem to have a future other than purely virtual.


Competition

GIMS suffers from competition from other similar shows and other types of events:

  • There are many exhibitions comparable to GIMS. As manufacturers' marketing budgets are decreasing, motor shows are obviously in competition with each other. As a result, some growing markets, such as Asian countries, are sometimes favoured because of the potential for better returns on investment. However, GIMS has an excellent reputation among high-end manufacturers and could therefore stand out.

  • Recently, car manufacturers have started to participate in events that in the past were not taken into account. This is particularly true of technology fairs or video games. Also, producers are now relying on other channels such as social media. As a result, the opportunity costs of participating in a car show have increased due to the growing number of alternatives.


Evolving public

In recent years, the number of visitors to car shows has decreased. The younger generation seems to be less passionate about cars. As a result, the GIMS has to find solutions to expand its target audience while avoiding losing its identity. The IAA in Frankfurt, for example, has taken radical steps by moving to Munich and transitioning from the automobile to mobility in general. The success of the concept remains to be proven.


Finances

It is no secret that the exhibition industry, and therefore car shows as well, are in financial difficulties. The decline in visitor numbers and the budget cuts by manufacturers are naturally harming fairs of this kind. Moreover, the pandemic of the last two years has only reinforced these trends. Although the Geneva show has a good reputation, it is not an exception and could, without new investments, disappear.



Exhibitors

Budget

As mentioned above, the exhibitors' budget is under new constraints. The costs of attending a motor show amount to millions of francs, which are no longer compensated by the sales made during the event. The necessity of this cost centre is logically questioned.


Alternatives

There are many alternatives to car shows today. Manufacturers have realised that they need to broaden their marketing spectrum and the format of the events they attend. Thus, novelties such as pop-up shops, roadshows or influencers have gained in popularity.


Although the online experience is not always comparable to a real one, it is sometimes sufficient. During the COVID crisis, manufacturers were forced to present their new models in small groups or even completely online. As the results were successful or helped to better target the audience, it is not unlikely that this process will remain in place for some future world premieres. Moreover, this approach tends to be cheaper.


Shortages

The automotive industry, like others, is affected by shortages of parts and components. This makes it difficult for manufacturers to release new models. Without new products or due to the inability to deliver, it is not worthwhile to participate in car shows. This problem seems to be one of the reasons behind the cancellation of GIMS 2022.



Conclusion

In short, car shows as we have known them for more than a century could disappear relatively quickly. Even if it is less affected by certain trends because of its high rating among high-end car producers, the International Geneva Motor Show will have to reinvent itself (at least partially) and adapt to the modern world to convince new segments of visitors.


It must also be said that these events attract a lot of visitors. In the case of GIMS, nearly 600,000 people come to Geneva. The absence of such an event not only creates a loss of income for the exhibition but also has repercussions on the economy of the entire region. In the case of Geneva, we are talking about economic repercussions of the order of 200 million francs. Since the impact of the show is so broad, it is in the interest of the cities and regional governments to support these events.


In the absence of a car show and of vehicles available on the market, it can be difficult to find a car that suits your needs. At Carequest, we find your dream car quickly and easily.


 

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