Paris motor show cancelled: the Covid-19 domino effect continues

Published: 31 March 2020

► 2020 Paris motor show axed
► Mondial de l’Auto cancelled
► Coronavirus finds its next victim

The 2020 Paris motor show has been cancelled owing to the coronavirus pandemic. Organisers confirmed last night that the Mondial de l’Auto is being pulled from its October date.

In a brief statement, the organisers said: ‘In light of the seriousness of this unprecedented health crisis and its consequent economic shock wave, which has severely struck the automotive sector, we are forced to announce that we will not be able to hold the 2020 Paris motor show in its current format at the Porte de Versailles. Nothing will ever be the same, but from this crisis we must learn to become agile, creative and more innovative than ever.’

Nearly all of this year’s important motor shows have now been cancelled or postponed by the spread of Covid-19, which has shuttered car factories around the globe and also put the brakes on the Geneva motor show, New York Auto Show, Detroit motor show and Goodwood Festival of Speed.

Read on to see what happened at the 2018 Paris car show.

A reminder of what happened at the last Paris motor show in 2018

The 2018 Paris motor show: Peugeot starred at its home expo

Here’s our guide to all the important new cars at the Paris motor show last time round. The 2018 Mondial de l’Auto was labelled as the world’s biggest car show by visitor numbers – drawing more than one million visitors, more than its European peers in Geneva or Germany; it is a biennial exhibition, alternating with the Frankfurt motor show in Germany.

The show kicked off on 2 October 2018, and the flood of new cars was pretty relentless. Highlights of the 2018 Paris auto show include the world debut of the new BMW 3-series, a raft of French concept cars, as well as our first look at the Mercedes-Benz A35 hot hatch. We also saw the world debut of the new Mercedes B-class, as well as what looks like the new Audi R8 in race garb – and JLR crashed the entire show by driving around with a camo’d new Defender back in Gaydon.

The expo was first held in 1898 in the Jardin des Tuileries in the French capital and the last show in 2016 it attracted 1,072,697 visitors, including 10,000 journalists. It’s massive, despite suffering a significant drop in exhibitor numbers this year. Keep reading for your essential guide to the Mondial de l’Auto.

Key cars at the 2018 Paris motor show

This is basically the new Audi R8

Audi has revealed its new R8 GT3 Evo LMS racer, and it looks to be preview of company’s forthcoming flagship supercar. Ingolstadt revealed the last R8 in racing trim before the production version, and it looks to be doing the same this time round, too. Read our full story for all the info.

Next Defender spotted – but not in Paris!

Okay, so it’s not actually at the Paris motor show, but this story broke while we had decamped to the French capital. We’ve published pictures of the next Land Rover Defender testing around Land Rover HQ in Gaydon, and although it’s camouflaged, we can still see for the first time how JLR plans to replace its icon. And we now know it’ll be launched in 2020 too. Get all the info here.

The Peugeot e-Legend goes on a 504 history lesson

The e-Legend Concept, which got its public unveiling at the Paris motor show, draws heavily on the 504 Coupe of 50 years ago, but also incorporates elements of US muscle cars. We think it looked great before – but it’s even better in the flesh. Read our guide to the concept here.

New BMW 3-series (G20) gets an official debut

An all-new 3-er is big news, and CAR has everything you need to know about the G20, including details on the Saloon, Touring and M3 versions. Based on the modular CLAR architecture, which also underpins the 5-series and new Z4 among other models, a range-topping M340i will lead the charge, but there will also be plug-in hybrid versions along with the ubiquitous petrol and diesel motors that’ll likely account for the backbone of sales. Get the full story here.

i30 N Option: Hyundai turns it up to 11  

We loved our i30 N long-termer but always felt it could do with a being just a little-hotter. It seems Hyundai was listening, because at this year’s Paris motor show, the brand revealed the new i 30 N Option. Just a show car for now, the i30 N Option previews a range of parts that’ll soon be available to i30 N customers – but it could be sold with everything included as a type R rival. Read the full story here.

Renault’s EZ Ultimo is a five-star hotel on wheels 

Renault’s used its home motor show as an excuse to unveil the wild EZ Ultimo; an app-booked Level 4 autonomous limo with an interior like a boutique hotel. Renault’s future-gazers reckon it’s a vehicle you might book for special occasions, or that the likes of an airline’s First Class lounge might use to ferry guests to and from the airport. Read more about it here.

The Peugeot 508 goes hybrid

Peugeot has revealed a range of hybrid alternatives for its swish new cars at the 2018 Paris motor show, with the 508 gaining a new plug-in hybrid option. Both it and the 508 SW estate version can be available with a hybrid powertrain from Autumn 2019.

Here’s a look at the tech inside the new Peugeot 508

With the 508 and 508 SW, the hybrid option will use the 178bhp PureTech petrol engine mated to an electric motor and 11.8kWh battery for a total of 222bhp. Peugeot promises both 49g/km and up to 25 miles of zero-emission driving. Read our full briefing on the new new Peugeot 508, here. 

Every new car at the 2018 Paris motor show: an A-Z guide

The Italians are swerving the 2018 Mondial de l’Auto

No manufacturer presence; Paris dealer showing DB11 Volante, Vantage, DBS Superleggera

A1 (below)  
The new supermini from Ingolstadt takes a Polo and adds a posh frock 
E-Tron electric SUV  Ingolstadt’s first electric car has been unveiled
SQ2  Hotter Q2 crossover a surprise addition to the Paris auto show
Q3  New second-generation junior crossover shown in French capital 

Not at the 2018 Paris motor show. ‘We rely on the Geneva show in Europe’ 

3-series  World debut for BMW’s most important saloon, codenamed G20
8-series  Big BMW coupe is back – and Paris marks first public debut
X5  First photos already issued, but this is the BMW X5’s first public debut 
Z4 (below)  New roadster was shown in Pebble Beach – now see it in Paris too!
i3 range updates  Bigger batteries for the electric BMW town cars 

The entire FCA Fiat Chrysler organisation is absent from the French car show this year 

C5 Aircross  European version of the C5 SUV lands at 2018 Paris motor show 

3 Crossback  World debut for small crossover with French fizz

Monza SP1 and SP2 (below)  
New 812-based specials are a big draw at Paris 

Ferrari Monza SP1 and SP2 twins are a good surprise from Maranello

No Fiat (or Abarth performance brand) at this year’s Paris motor show

Not at Paris in 2018 

i30 N Fastback  
World premiere of the faster, swoopier i30 in Paris 
N Options programme  New personalisation brings wilder i30 N hot hatches 

Project Black S  A look at how the Q60 coupe could benefit from F1-derived hybrid powertrain know-how

It’s a no-show for the rough-and-tumble Jeep brand at Paris 2018

Ceed GT  
First sight of the sportier five-door Ceed hatchback
ProCeed and GT  Plus our first look at the new shooting brake Ceed wagon
Niro EV  Full electric version of the crossover lands in Paris too

Not at Paris in 2018 as a manufacturer – local dealer attending instead

Discovery Project Hero  
New drone equipped special version for the Red Cross 
New Defender  Not technically at Paris, but first spy pics dropped during show 

RC  Newly fettled 2019 model year sports coupe bows in at Paris 
LC Limited Edition  
Vibrant Naples Yellow paint job and extras galore 
ES  New GS-replacing saloon makes its European debut 
UX  Order books open on the new baby SUV on Lexus stand

Another brand giving the Mondial de l’Auto 2018 a wide berth 

A-class Saloon  
Four-door notchback A is here to fight the Audi A3 Saloon
A35 AMG (below)
New sub-A45 middleweight hot hatch comes to Paris
World debut for more upright, sensible A-class clone
Next-generation of the artist formerly known as M-class 
Important one this: the new electric SUV lands at Paris motor show

Mercedes-AMG A35 hot hatch: a 2018 Paris motor show premiere

Mini not attending the 2018 Paris motor show. ‘There are no shows in Europe planned’

Another no-show for 2018 from Mitsu

Not at Paris in 2018 

508 SW (below)  
New estate derivative of the 508 saloon arrives at home show 
Hybrids  New range of plug-in hybrids for 3008, 508 and 508 SW 
E-Legend concept car  It wouldn’t be a French car show without a Pug concept car…

Paris motor show preview: the new Peugeot 508 SW estate is confirmed

Time for a mid-life facelift for Porsche’s hot-selling Macan SUV
911 Speedster confirmed  Porsche rolls out plans to build 1948 drop-tops 

EZ Ultimo  
New app-hailed, lounge-alike futurist concept barge
Kadjar  Modest facelift for Renault’s inhouse Qashqai 
K-ZE  New China-focused electric car from Renault 

Tarraco  World debut for the big crossover from Spain 

Skoda Karoq Scout at the Paris motor show

Kodiaq vRS  
The first high-performance SUV from Skoda will bow in at Mondial de l’Auto 
Karoq Scout (above)  Muddier, tougher version of Karoq crossover confirmed (Sportline’s coming too)
Vision RS concept  Show car due at French car show – expect a preview of next Rapide hatch 

Forease concept 
The Crossblade is back!

Jimny (below)  
European debut of the new junior G-wagen slated for Paris 
Vitara facelift  Mid-life nip ‘n’ tuck for the popular family crossover 

Suzuki Jimny! Another world debut for the Mondial de l'Auto at the 2018 Paris motor show

Camry  First look at the European iteration of this blast from the past
Corolla Touring Sports  New estate version of the Auris successor is Europe-bound 

Not at the 2018 Paris motor show 

Not at Paris in 2018

Which car makers aren’t going to the Paris motor show?

Volkswagen has confirmed it’ll skip the 2018 Paris motor show, as it focuses its marketing efforts elsewhere. The news comes as a trickle of manufacturers swerve this autumn’s big car show in Europe.

VolvoFordNissan and VW have all declared their intention not to attend. It reflects the changing nature of motor shows, as car makers grapple with a changing landscape with new digital opportunities and fresh routes to market their products. Some brands, like Lamborghini and Aston Martin, are not attending at a factory level, although the local Parisian dealerships are.

The list goes on: Mini is skipping the event too. ‘Where there is a good reason to attend a show with new product, it is given major consideration,’ said a spokesman. ‘But there are no shows in Europe planned for this year.’ Bentley meanwhile confirmed that it too is missing the French auto show. ‘We rely on the Geneva motor show,’ an official told CAR magazine.

Other no-shows include Mazda and Mitsubishi – and the whole of the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) stable will be absent, too. We’re expecting quite a few echoing empty spaces in some halls… 

VW bosses in Wolfsburg have been examining all business practices in the wake of the Dieselgate emissions scandal. Major motor shows are multi-million pound investments and Volkswagen has deemed its product cycle to be out of kilter with this autumn’s show schedule. It’s an easy cost-cutting choice, in many regards, as the company waits for the 2019 launch of the ID electric car family.

Has the motor show had its day? Be sure to sound off in the comments below

Practical information about the Paris motor show 2018

Where is the Paris motor show held?  1 Place de la Porte de Versailles, 75015 Paris, France
Paris motor show dates:  4-14 October 2018
Opening times: 10.00am-8.00pm (and until 10.00pm on 4, 5, 6, 10, 11 and 12 October)
How much are Paris motor show tickets?  From €9 – €19 on pre-sale (cheaper evening tickets are available)
Children’s tickets  Kids entry for €9 (ages 11-17), free for under-11s
Mondial de l’Auto website:

Paris motor show map and directions