Geneva Motor Show 2019Geneva Motor Show 2019


Geneva Motor Show could appear in more countries, despite Qatar event controversy

  • Boss of Geneva Motor Show hints event could be taken to other countries
  • Show was controversially put on in Qatar last year
  • Car show returns to Geneva this year, and opens its doors tomorrow

Time 8:57 am, January 25, 2024

The Geneva International Motor Show could appear in other countries other than its home city and Qatar, organisers have said.

The Geneva Motor Show used to be the jewel in the European car show calendar and attracted strong crowds and most major and specialist carmakers every year.

However the show, in its original form, was cancelled in 2020 due to the coronavirus, with the event only returning to Switzerland this year following its hiatus.

Organisers, though, signed an agreement with Qatar Tourism to hold an event under its ‘GIMS’ name in 2021, with the event taking place in the country’s capital of Doha in October 2023.

The move proved to be controversial, with Qatar’s reputation for human rights and treatment of migrant workers coming under fire, as was the case when the World Cup was held there in 2022.

But Sandro Mesquita, chief executive of GIMS, said that while he understood why people were ‘disappointed’, that it was an ‘opportunity to grow’.

Mesquita told the PA news agency: ‘We know some people were disappointed with this choice [to hold the event in Qatar] and we understood that and accept all the opinions. For us, it was an opportunity to grow and go international and I can say that Qatar is evolving.’

He added that while Qatar was an ‘important partner’ for the future it remained ‘independent’, quashing rumours that the event was only being held in Qatar because of the country’s known wealth.

Mesquita also hinted that the Geneva Motor Show brand could grow to other countries in the future, adding: ‘This is a collaboration [with Qatar} and maybe in the future we will have others. We now have a brand with two platforms, and maybe in the future we would have more.’

This year’s Geneva International Motor Show returns to the Swiss city in February for the first time in five years, but only handful of brands are signed up.

Apart carmakers such as from Renault, Dacia, MG and BYD, many firms have snubbed the event. Organisers admit that it will be ‘more compact’ but that it hopes to come back ‘bigger and better each year’.

Mesquita added: ‘We strongly believe that the automotive industry is strong enough to have its own platform in Europe. There is a place for motor shows.

‘GIMS will grow and 2024 is a restart after this pause. Since the beginning of the history of the show, we have been a mirror in the market, and we will continue to be. Each year we will have more and more brands that are leading the way for the automotive industry.’

The Geneva Motor Show will open its doors at the Palexpo Exhibition Centre tomorrow and will run until March 3.

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