Geneva International Motor Show Closes After 119 Years

The iconic Geneva International Motor Show, a cornerstone of the automotive industry since 1905, is closing its doors permanently, organizers announced on Friday. The decision comes amid dwindling interest from automakers and growing competition from other European auto shows, marking the end of an era for one of the world’s most prestigious automotive exhibitions.

From its modest beginnings in 1905, attracting just 17,000 visitors, the Geneva Motor Show evolved into a major industry event, peaking in 2005 with nearly 750,000 attendees. Its early years saw a pause due to economic hardship and World War I, resuming in 1923 to become a key annual event. The show’s significance was reaffirmed over the decades, celebrated for unveiling groundbreaking automotive innovations and hosting premieres for car enthusiasts and industry leaders alike.

The COVID-19 pandemic, however, dealt a severe blow to the show, leading to its cancellation for four consecutive years. When the show finally returned earlier this year, it attracted only 37 exhibitors and 168,000 visitors, a stark contrast to the pre-pandemic attendance of 602,000 visitors and 184 exhibitors in 2019. This dramatic decline reflected broader challenges facing the automotive industry, including shifts in consumer interest and the rise of alternative venues for vehicle launches and showcases.

“It is with deep regret that we must announce the permanent cancellation of the Geneva International Motor Show,” said Alexandre de Senarclens, president of the organizing foundation’s permanent committee. “The lack of manufacturer interest, coupled with fierce competition from the Paris and Munich shows and the substantial investments required, have made it unsustainable to continue.” De Senarclens emphasized that the decision was made after careful consideration of the evolving industry landscape and the show’s diminishing relevance.

Despite the show’s closure, the Geneva International Motor Show’s legacy will continue in a new form with the Geneva Motor Show Qatar, which debuted successfully last year. Organizers confirmed that the Qatar edition will proceed, with the next event scheduled for Doha in November 2025. This continuation underscores the enduring appeal of the Geneva brand, albeit in a different geographical context, highlighting the adaptability of major auto shows in response to global industry trends.

As the curtains fall on the Geneva edition, the automotive world bids farewell to a historic event that has shaped car culture and innovation for over a century. The show’s closure marks the end of an era, but its influence on the automotive industry will be remembered for years to come.

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