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The demise of the Motor Show

After 119 editions the Geneva International Motor Show has come to an end highlighting the significant change in marketing within the motoring landscape during the past decade and one full of disappointment.

Relaunched in February after four years hiatus due to the global pandemic, the next edition has been cancelled due in part to a lack of manufacturer interest.

“While the February 2024 relaunch edition intended to reposition and perpetuate the Geneva International Motor Show (GIMS) after a four-year absence due to COVID-19,” said Alexandre de Senarclens, President of the Comitépermanent du Salon international de l’automobile Foundation.

“[But] the Board notes that there are too many uncertainties linked to the automotive industry and the eroded attractiveness of the major European shows to take the risk of investing further into the future.

“This extremely regrettable decision should not detract from the efforts and determination with which we have tried to regain our success.

“However, it has to be said that the lack of interest shown by manufacturers in the Geneva Salon in a difficult industry context, the competition from the Paris and Munich shows which are favored [sic] by their domestic industry, and the investment levels required to maintain such a show, sound the final blow for a future edition.”

It follows German manufacturers Volkswagen, Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz being non-attendees at the February  event.

Held for the first time in 1905, the Geneva Motor Show was the biggest European event of its kind for many years as 120 exhibitors and 600,000 visitors attended during its peak years.

It’s been more than 10 years since the last Australian International Motor Show was hosted in Sydney following the amalgamation of the popular Sydney and Melbourne events starting in 2010.

The Melbourne International Motor Show was an institution from 1925 until 2009, while Sydney’s version was created in 1987.

A highlight for many revheads, young or old, was to head out to the Motor Show to view the new metal on display, while posters, showbags and brochures ensured there was plenty of reading material to leave with.

Local motor shows allowed attendees to inspect models on the forecourt and pesky young blokes to jump in to those vehicles on display to push the buttons or flick switches.

It’s disappointing there are no events like these anymore, although there has been a rise in classic meets and at the Repco Garage this will have to do.