When it came to European motor shows, it was always Geneva that was up there with the best.
Almost every major global car manufacturer attended, big and small, and it hosted a range of new reveals, from supercars to city cars. If a car firm didn’t attend, eyebrows were raised.
But 2020 threw all of this up in the air, with Geneva Motor Show organisers forced to cancel the event at the last second because of the spread of the coronavirus, despite many firms’ cars already being on show stands or in shipping. It was a nightmare situation.
Since then, organisers have tried and failed to bring it back, but on February 26, the doors to the huge Palexpo exhibition centre will open once again for the Geneva Motor Show for the first time in five years.
Organisers of the event are pretty open about the fact that it won’t be the same, with Sandro Mesquita, the show’s chief executive, telling Car Dealer it was ‘clear that the 2024 edition is more compact’.
Mesquita said: ‘It’s not just another edition. Because we had a four-year pause, Covid has accelerated some changes.
‘It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog that matters.’
While organisers boast of ‘more than 20 major exhibitors’, when you delve into the list, there are only a handful of household names, including Dacia, MG and Renault. We’ll explore more later about who is and who isn’t there, but it’s a stark change.
Alexandre de Senarclens is chairman of the new event and calls it an ‘entrepreneur venture’, saying that ‘more and more brands will come’ each year after seeing the 2024 edition.
‘We are entrepreneurs in the sense we want our venture to grow. Of course, we want more brands to come because we want to be the centre of this industry.
‘Our goal is to demonstrate that we are the place to be, as our concept is good, and in 2025 we will have 10 more brands and be as big as we were before Covid.’
Although the organisers are hoping for 200,000 people to attend the show in 2024, it’s a long way off the 600,000 that visited in 2019.
As journalists, there isn’t enough meat on the bone to warrant our time and expense of going to this year’s event, though.
It will likely be an ongoing challenge; manufacturers won’t attend if there isn’t footfall, and the public won’t attend without the manufacturers.
Of course, organisers stress that it’s not all about the brands, as there are new ‘zones’ exploring the future of mobility and classic cars, with 2024 marking 100 years since Geneva was classed as an ‘international’ motor show. The Car of the Year prize-giving ceremony also returns.
But which brands are attending in 2024 and who is missing it? Let’s take a look.
Who will be at the Geneva Motor Show in 2024?
Renault is the biggest car brand to confirm its attendance at Geneva this year, and it will host the most important debut – the Renault 5, the concept for which is pictured above.
Seeing the revival of this legendary nameplate for this funky electric hatchback, it’s one that many will be watching closely.
Geneva organisers are lucky to have the Renault Group on its side, as its budget brand Dacia will also be exhibiting with two important cars.
The first is the new version of the Spring (pictured) – Dacia’s low-cost electric car that’s been on sale for several years elsewhere in Europe, but is being introduced to the UK later in 2024 and should be the UK’s cheapest new electric car when it arrives.
Dacia will also show its new Duster SUV to the public for the first time following its November reveal.
MG’s momentum continues to grow in the UK and elsewhere on the continent, and will use Geneva to reveal the new version of its MG3 – a small hatchback rivalling the Vauxhall Corsa. The outgoing version is pictured above.
Set to get a more modern design and improved technology, it will also retain its low price.
MG is also likely to continue to show off its dramatic electric Cyberster sports car ahead of it going on sale later in the year.
Chinese brand BYD’s global presence is also continuing to grow with cars such as the Seal, pictured, and although its UK sales are still small, it’s earmarked as ‘one to watch’.
The firm has confirmed its attendance at Geneva, which isn’t inundated with Chinese car brands like similar events in Munich have been. There’s no indication yet of what it will display, though.
American EV brand Lucid has already made quite an impression on home soil with its luxurious electric cars, and its cars are already available in a select number of European countries, although not the UK.
The brand is quite a major player to have in Geneva, and is likely to use the event to show its new Gravity SUV in Europe for the first time.
Who won’t be at the Geneva Motor Show in 2024?
The list of those who won’t be in Geneva in 2024 far exceeds those that will be.
In fact, of the 50 car manufacturers that Car Dealer asked, only four confirmed their attendance at this year’s event. Compare that with 2019 and 36 of these brands all had show stands.
Some of the biggest to miss this year’s event are Stellantis and the Volkswagen Group.
The latter used to host a huge media event the day before the show that would see the reveal of all new models from across its vast portfolio of brands, from Skoda to Lamborghini, but none of these are in attendance for 2024.
Similarly, the vast Stellantis empire has given it a miss.
In a statement, a spokesperson said: ‘Given the current challenging scenario for the industry worldwide, and in line with recent decisions made by the company about other relevant international shows [such as the Los Angeles Auto Show and CES], Stellantis has decided to not participate in the Geneva Motor Show in 2024.
‘At Stellantis, our decision to attend a motor show is driven by an economic logic: product launch cadence and return on investment.
‘Motor shows are tools that are part of a 360-degree marketing mix and brands can decide which is the right tool to be used at the right time, according to their strategy.’
The world has changed a lot since the hustle and bustle of the Geneva event in 2019, and although it’s great to see it back for 2024, it’ll be a shadow of its former self.
Whether it can ever be built up to its previous level over the years remains to be seen.