Automakers announce digital debuts in face of Geneva Motor Show coronavirus cancellation

Some automakers are scheduling digital debuts

Cars sit on the show floor as workers stop preparation for the 90th Geneva International Motor Show, GIMS, at Palexpo, in Geneva on Friday. / AP


FRANKFURT — Carmakers were scrambling to reorganize press conferences and vehicle presentations after Swiss authorities forced the cancellation of the Geneva Motor Show on Friday in an effort to contain the coronavirus.

Porsche has become one of the first to official confirm a digital debut, announcing Friday that its new 911 flagship will be revealed via a live-stream on March 3. 

More than 160 exhibitors were scheduled to show off their cars and services at the 90th Geneva Motor Show, which was due to start on Monday and last until March 15.

  • Porsche will live-stream the unveiling of its new 911 flagship at on March 3 at 10:10 a.m. CET (4:10 a.m. EST)
  • BMW said it would use live-streaming to present the BMW Concept i4.
  • Mercedes, likewise, will livestream a revamped Mercedes E-Class.
  • Aston Martin plans to livestream a news conference on March 4.
  • Ferrari does not plan to arrange alternative events.
  • Fiat Chrysler said it had no Plan B, but that it was considering ways to show off a new electric Fiat 500.
  • French brand DS, part of PSA Group, said it was seeking a venue near Paris to showcase a new concept car and was rescheduling interviews with executives by telephone.
  • Audi said it would seek to use digital channels to launch its Audi A3 sportback and Audi E-Tron S.
  • Rimac said it was delaying the reveal of the Rimac C_Two by a week or two.
  • McLaren will livestream what it calls "the next chapter in the McLaren LT story" on March 3 at 9:30 a.m. CET (3:30 a.m. EST)
  • Volkswagen will hold a digital press conference on March 3 at 9:10 a.m. CET (3:10 a.m.EST)

Switzerland on Friday banned large events expected to draw more than 1,000 people to try to curb a coronavirus outbreak that has spread from China across the world.

"We regret this situation, but the health of all participants is our and our exhibitors' top priority. This is a case of force majeure and a tremendous loss for the manufacturers who have invested massively in their presence in Geneva," said Maurice Turrettini, Chairman of the Geneva International Motor Show Foundation Board.

Last year 660,000 people attended the Geneva show and the exhibition generated an estimated 200-250 million Swiss francs ($205-$256 million) worth of business.

Visitors who bought tickets will be refunded, although exhibitors will not, given it was the health authorities, rather than organizers Palexpo, who called off the event.

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