When the COVID-19 pandemic hit Europe in February, the organizers of the Geneva Motor Show delayed the cancellation of the event as long as possible. The closure only happened a few days before the opening to the press. With the difficulties experienced by Palexpo SA, the show's promoter, this reluctance to announce shutting down the show is now understandable.
Sandro Mesquita, Director of the Geneva Motor Show, recently gave an interview to La Tribune de Genève in which he did not mince his words and did not try to embellish the situation. He made the situation seem close to disaster.
"If we do not find a solution by September, we risk liquidation. We will have to put our assets up for sale, in particular, the brand and the shares of Palexpo SA," Mesquita told La Tribune de Genève.
Gallery: Bugatti La Voiture Noire at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show
In a press release published in May, Palexpo SA revealed that it refused a loan for 16.8 million Swiss francs ($17.7 million at current exchange rates) from the canton of Geneva's government. The motor show organizers needed the financial support to cover the losses from not having the 2020 event and prepare for 2021. Palexpo SA said the government requested outsourcing the show, and the show organizers refused this stipulation.
In Palexpo SA's announcement about refusing the loan, the group said that "GIMS [Geneva International Motor Show] exhibitors encourage us and strongly recommend to plan the next edition for 2022.
Sandro Mesquita assured that it would be very difficult to hold a show in Geneva in 2021, if the organization in charge of it survives the next few months. Private investors or an agreement with the canton of Geneva's government are potential solutions to the problem, though.