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The 2020 Geneva Motor Show is canceled after the Swiss government banned gatherings of 1,000 people or more due to concerns over the coronavirus. Now, most of the companies including BMW and Bentley will livestream their new models to the public.
After Geneva International Motor Show was canceled due to rapidly spreading coronavirus, carmakers BMW, Porsche and Bentley decided to debut their new cars online. This isn’t anything unexpected since this approach has been already taken by some mobile phone producers when the MWC 2020 in Madrid was canceled for the same reason.
Be it as it may, the approach as such is new since this is the first time carmakers will have to show all the possibilities of their products – online. Traditionally, the Geneva show was one of the most luxurious events for mostly premium brands and supercars.
Maurice Turrettini, chairman of the board that runs the Geneva auto show explained that this measure is necessary as a prevention and a safe response to the coronavirus epidemic raging in Europe and now in Switzerland.
BMW i4 as a Direct Tesla Competitor
BMW CEO Oliver Zipse will livestream a press conference for the global debut of a new concept vehicle called the BMW Concept i4 at 2:15 a.m. ET on Tuesday.
“While we certainly understand this decision, we also regret that the fair cannot take place as usual.”
For what we know now, the i4, still hopes to be put in sales in 2021. It is built on a new platform that can be used as the next base for electric cars, hybrids or combustion vehicles. The flexible architecture will be used to make a battery version of the popular X3 SUV this year, as well as the futuristic iNext. This is the main company’s weapon to compete against Tesla Inc (NASDAQ: TSLA). after the U.S. upstart took quite of a bit of its market share.
Bentley still didn’t reveal the exact time of streaming. However, from the company they’ve said:
“Bentley welcomes the decision of the Geneva State Council to cancel this year’s Geneva Motor Show. This is a decision in the interests of the health and safety of all participants and our colleagues.”
Porsche also plans to host a press conference online Tuesday to unveil its new flagship 911 series. Also, it is reported that Audi and Mercedes-Benz are expected to livestream vehicle unveilings as well.
On the other hand, Fiat Chrysler says it is “evaluating alternative ways to deliver vehicle launches that were planned for the show.” The company was expected to show its new all-electric car from its Fiat brand.
The company said:
“While unfortunate, the safety of our employees, the media and show organizers has to take precedent.”
As nearly half of all Swiss cantons report individual cases of infection, the federal authorities are planning a major public information campaign to limit and slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.
The Swiss government took an unprecedented measure on Friday to take over powers from the cantonal authorities to ban large gatherings in order to contain the spread of the virus.
Health of Participants is a Priority – Turrettini
The decision was made shortly before the Geneva-based World Health Organisation raised its impact risk alert for the coronavirus worldwide to “very high” – its highest level.
Turrettini then said:
“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. However, we are convinced that they will understand this decision.”
Ferdinand Dudenhoeffer, a researcher at the University of St. Gallen, Switzerland said, even before the show was canceled that “the state of the global economy and the situation of the auto industry are marked by high risks.”
Analysts are already calculating the impact the latest shock will have on the overall auto industry. RBC Capital Markets expects European auto production to fall as much as 4% this year. LMC Automotive analysts say it could fall further – 4.4% in a worst-case scenario.