A bit over a week ago, China canceled the Beijing Auto Show amid the deadly coronavirus outbreak plaguing the country. The organizers behind the Geneva Motor Show that was supposed to kick off next week have now canceled the show due to coronavirus fears. The Switzerland Federal Office of Public Health said today that gatherings of 1000 or more people had been banned through at least March 15 in an effort to restrict the spread of the coronavirus.
Organizers stated on Friday that they regret the situation but the health of visitors and exhibitors is its top priority. The first day of the Geneva Motor Show for journalists was to be March 2nd with the general public able to attend the show between March 5th and March 15th. Multiple automakers had already pulled out of the Geneva Motor Show over fears of the virus. Toyota was only sending senior executives and public relations staff that had responsibilities in Europe.
The organizers say that about 220 exhibitors attend the car show each year along with 10,000 journalists and roughly 660,000 visitors. Typically, the Geneva Motor Show is where exotic cars and very expensive luxury cars are debuted. There have been 15 cases of coronavirus reported in Switzerland. Italy has at least 650 infections, and 17 people have died due to the illness. French officials have reported 38 cases with two deaths. The vast majority of cases remain localized in China.
The ongoing coronavirus outbreak has hit the automotive industry hard, with analysts predicting a big downturn in global auto sales. Moody’s recently downgraded its expectations for the overall automotive industry in 2020, predicting a 2.5 percent decline in sales overall compared to its previous estimate of a decline of 0.9 percent. The coronavirus outbreak will also impact many other consumer products as lots of electronics and components are built in China.