Geneva motor show cancelled for 2021: is this the end?

Published: 29 June 2020

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The 2021 Geneva motor show was cancelled this evening in an ongoing squabble about money, meaning that the world’s most popular car show won’t be held before 2022 at the earliest.

The news casts doubt over whether the show – the biggest public event in Switzerland – will ever bounce back and suggests coronavirus will continue to wreak havoc on the automotive industry for months, and years, to come. Show organisers admitted that most manufacturers could not commit to attending in 2021, pulling the rug from under their feet.

Cancelling the 2020 show cost 11 million Swiss francs (£9m) after the government declared force majeure; state aid has been offered to the Geneva show to the tune of 17m Swiss francs (£14m) but with repayment terms due in June 2021 the organisers have declared it unworkable and are trying to sell the event to the Palexpo exhibition halls where the show is held each spring.

2020 show cancelled – one of the first automotive Covid-19 casualties

The 2020 Geneva motor show was cancelled in March after the Swiss government banned all large events to contain the spread of coronavirus – but a flurry of new metal was still unveiled – virtually – as car manufacturers ploughed ahead regardless, whisking the virtual covers off an array of new models.

Read on for our regularly updated A-Z of every new car unveiled – virtually – at the 2020 Geneva motor show. There’s everything from new Bentleys and Golf GTIs to our best look yet at the BMW i4 electric car and a brace of new Alfa Romeo sports saloons. Scroll down for our full guide.

A-Z of all the new cars at the virtual 2020 Geneva motor show

Alfa Romeo Giulia GTA

Giulia GTA (above)  A pair of go-faster Giulia Quadrifoglio hotshots 

A110 Legende and Color Edition  French sports car engages special edition mode 

Vantage Roadster  Chop-top open-air version of the Vantage V8 bows in 
V12 Speedster   
Low-volume two-seat alfresco sports car from Q branch
DBX  Q by Aston Martin get their hands on the new SUV at Geneva

A3 Sportback  World debut for the next A3, aka the new Golf in Ingolstadt drag 

Battista Anniversario  90th birthday present special of the Battista due at Geneva auto show 

Mono  Latest generation of single-seater extreme sports car has more power, less mass

Bentley Bacalar

Mulliner Bacalar (above)  Gloriously OTT production two-seater from Crewe’s Mulliner bespoke division 

Concept i4  A near-production look ahead to the all-electric i4 saloon coming soon
Plug-in hybrids galore  
Lots of PHEV activity on the BMW stand in Switzerland

Leon  Red-hot performance version of the new Seat Leon hot hatch 
Formentor (below)  New production version of performance SUV, too 

Cupra Formentor: a faster SUV, now with PHEV skills

9  New global range-topper for upmarket French brand confirmed: beaucoup de luxe!

Roma  First public debut for new GT sports car at Geneva after November unveiling 

500e  All-new, all-electric 500 city car due, bringing battery power to the masses 

Civic facelift  Mid-life refresh for Civic range, including a pep-up for red-hot Type R 
European debut for new Jazz and its e-HEV hybrid technology
Jazz Crosstar  Inevitably, there’s an Allroad-style, SUV-inspired version of the Jazz, too
 We’ve already driven it, but this is another chance to see Honda’s first EV

New supermini due shown in time for the 2020 Geneva motor show
Prophecy concept (below)  A wild new all-electric concept car from the Koreans

Hyundai Prophecy

Sorento  All-new fourth-generation family SUV bows in 

Gemera  Wild four-seat GT with 1700bhp and wild looks rocks ‘Geneva’

LF-30 Electrified  European debut for dramatic gullwing-doored Lexus 

MX-30  Electric SUV stars on Mazda stand as brand celebrates its centenary 

765 LT  Just what the 720S didn’t need: bundles more power and track trickery! 

E-Class facelift  Mid-life updates for big-selling Merc saloon and estate duo
AMG GLA 45  Rampant turbocharged junior SUV bound for the Daimler stand
Vision AVTR  Seen at CES this year, it’s the European debut for techfest concept 
AMG GLE 63 Coupe  Squashed GLE, muscled up with AMG firepower 

Plus Four  New four-cylinder derivative of Morgan’s latest aluminium chassis is due at GIMS 

Precept  A new concept car points to the electric brand’s future styling direction 

Porsche 718 Boxster GTS (and Cayman) are coming to Geneva 2020

718 Cayman and Boxster GTS (above)  
Praise be! Six-cylinder power back for popular GTS twins 
911 Turbo  We’ve already ridden in it, but now we’ll see the full turbo Turbo S 911 

Morphoz  A radical electric car that changes shape for urban chores or longer journeys
Clio and Captur hybrids
A hybrid system with a difference arrives at Swiss show

Leon  An important launch for Volkswagen’s Spanish outpost, as big-selling Leon is reborn 

Octavia vRS  Go-faster versions of new Skoda family car arrive with hybrid creds
Enyaq  Major world debut for all-electric SUV from the Czechs too

Minor update for funky-looking Ignis mini car

Toyota GR Yaris: a little turbocharged, 4wd rally nutter!

Yaris GR (above)  See the new pocket rocket from Japan at the 2020 Geneva car show 
Small SUV  
It’s not yet revealed, but Toyota’s all-new B-segment SUV also arrives at GIMS

Close-to-production all-electric crossover swells ID family again
Golf GTI  Hot hatches galore on the VW stand on brand’s 70th anniversary in Geneva
Golf GTD  First look at the diesel hot hatch too: mile-munching performance hero?
Golf GTE  Third of trio of new Golfs: it’s the plug-in hybrid GTE
Touareg R  Audi SQ7-rivalling performance SUV confirmed for Geneva auto show
Caddy  Fifth generation of the new Caddy van will be unveiled in Switzerland 

Why was the 2020 Geneva motor show cancelled?

The Swiss government banned all large events gathering more than 1000 people days before the Geneva motor show was due to open – dooming this year’s event at Palexpo. 

Axing the world’s premier motor show could leave organisers and car manufacturers with a bill as large as €250 million (£210m), it has emerged, in fees to pay for unused stands, transportation, staffing and hotel fees. It’s just the kind of blow a beleaguered industry doesn’t need right now.

The organising committee claimed the show was too big to postpone or rearrange and said it had no choice but to cancel the 2020 car show after ministers prohibited mass events in public.

‘In view of the current situation and the spread of the coronavirus, the Federal Council has categorised the situation in Switzerland as ‘special’ in terms of the Epidemics Act,’ the Swiss cabinet said in a statement on 29 February. ‘Large-scale events involving more than 1000 people are to be banned. The ban comes into immediate effect and will apply at least until 15 March.’ It rang the death knell for this year’s auto show.

There are now fears that the Geneva motor show may not return even after 2022, as car shows elsewhere have struggled with waning manufacturer and public interest.

The exodus of manufacturers: which brands had pulled out

On this page we pull together all the main attractions of what was due to be shown in our handy 2020 Geneva car show preview. But many manufacturers were already skipping this year’s show: Cadillac, Citroen, Ford, Jaguar, Lamborghini, Land Rover, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Opel, Peugeot, Subaru, Tata and Volvo were all absent anyway.

Practical information about the Geneva motor show 2020

Officially called the Geneva International Motor Show (or GIMS, for short), the Swiss show is traditionally held on neutral ground at the Palexpo Arena next to Geneva airport. This makes it an ideal stop-off for petrolheads who may be decamping to the Alps for a spot of spring skiing or passing through Switzerland on business. It’s also ideal for a day trip from the UK, with the show halls just 10 minutes from the airport arrivals hall – and it’s small enough that you can see all the highlights in a day.

The Geneva auto show was due to take place from 5-15 March 2020, before the threat of coronavirus cancelled the event. Here we list the original ticket prices, opening hours and other practical information in our handy guide below. CAR magazine was due to report live from the international press days on 3 and 4 March, and you can keep up to speed with our full package of news, reviews, intel and videos live from the virtual Geneva car show in the links above.

Where was the Geneva motor show going to be held?  Palexpo Arena, Route François-Peyrot 30, 1218 Le Grand-Saconnex, Geneva, Switzerland
Original Geneva motor show dates:  5-15 March 2020 (public days)
Opening times: 10.00am-8.00pm Monday-Friday, 9.00am-7.00pm Saturday-Sunday
How much were Geneva motor show tickets going to cost?  Adults CHF 16, children 6-16 and pensioners CHF 9, children under six free with adult
Discounts and deals: Arrive after 4pm to get half-price tickets, group tickets for 20+ visitors cost CHF 11 a head
Geneva International Motor Show (GIMS) website:

Review of earlier Geneva motor shows

Check out our video round-up of the Geneva motor show highlights from last year: