“I hope motor shows will be around long into the future”

With many manufacturers set to be absent at this year’s Geneva Motor Show, editor-in-chief Steve Fowler hopes they will support it in 2025 and beyond

Opinion - motor show

The Geneva Motor Show used to be one of the highlights of the motoring calendar. A time when the car industry decamped to Switzerland for what was – for us car fans – one of the greatest shows on Earth.

Then Covid struck in 2020 and at the very last minute the event was cancelled. It hasn’t reappeared since, but in less than a month’s time, the doors to the Geneva Motor Show will open once again.

Of course, US motor shows are alive and well – the Los Angeles and New York shows plough on with impressive visitor numbers, CES in Vegas has plenty of car stuff, and the Detroit show is returning to its traditional, icy January slot from 2025. Similarly, shows in the Far East still thrive and Geneva even lent its branding to an event in Qatar.

In Europe things are different. Frankfurt has been replaced by Munich, but last year it was mostly populated by German and Chinese brands, plus Renault, which resolutely supports as many shows as possible.

The last Paris show in 2023 was sparse, with not even all of the French brands attending – although Renault was there, obviously. As for the British Motor Show, it’s a great family day out, but based more around entertainment than a chance to ogle the very latest new metal.

So what of Geneva 2024? One of the things I love about it is that it’s reachable from the UK via a quick, cheap flight; it’s right next to the airport, and the total cost of the trip is not that different from one ticket to Goodwood.

This week I caught up with the Geneva organisers, who promise a ‘change of concept’ with ‘thematic zones’ and ‘experiences’. There are ‘more than 23 exhibitors’ who, of course, include Renault, plus a smattering of Chinese brands (such as MG and BYD) and Italian styling houses.

Apparently, the many absent brands didn’t have it in their budgets for 2024, but hope to be persuaded for 2025. If the crowds are there, the car makers will follow. Personally, I hope motor shows will be around long into the future.

Have you ever been to a motor show? Tell us about your experience in the comments section...

Editor-in-chief

Steve Fowler has been editor-in-chief of Auto Express since 2011 and is responsible for all editorial content across the website and magazine. He has previously edited What Car?, Autocar and What Hi-Fi? and has been writing about cars for the best part of 30 years. 

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