BERLIN -- The COVID-19 pandemic created a nightmare for organizers of traditional auto shows as car companies moved to unveiling their new products through Web livestreams. Germany's VDA renamed its show the IAA Mobility, and touted the event, held in Munich in September, as a showcase for varied modes of transport from cars to bicycles and air taxis. However, the Geneva show, which will be held next February after a two-year absence, will keep the automobile as its focus, Sandro Mesquita, CEO of the Geneva International Motor Show (GIMS) told Automotive News Europe Correspondent Nathan Eddy.
What can we expect to see in terms of exhibitors in Geneva in February?
We have a good mix of big automakers and supercar and hypercar makers, as well as some new brands coming from the electric world proposing new solutions for urban mobility. We have 60 exhibitors in total. If we compare that with 2019 or 2020 it is not at the same level, but the economic situation is also different, and so we are happy so far.
Who specifically is coming to the show?
We will have very good representation from Volkswagen Group, more or less coming with all its brands. We do not have Lamborghini or Bentley, but otherwise the other brands are present. Renault will also be there. We are still waiting on Mercedes-Benz -- they are very interested -- but Stellantis will not attend. BMW will not join us, as they told us early this year they were focusing on the IAA, and for 2022 they have other plans, but the door is not closed for 2023. From the U.S., we have Fisker Automotive and Singer, an electric supercar, but Ford and GM are not coming.
How will the show be different from past events?
The big change is the digital transformation of GIMS -- all the press conferences will be broadcast on our digital platform, so journalists, if they cannot come, will be able to follow the press conferences. We will also have a live studio where every day we will produce content from the show live, and people will be able to look at that content on our platform in replay mode later. We will discuss what is happening on a sort of GIMS TV. We will also have a space called "The Gateway," where we will organize conferences, debates, keynotes about the future challenges of the auto industry, which will also be broadcast on our digital platform. This will all be done with the aim of increasing the reach and the impact for the exhibitors, as well as for the visitors. We will also have a 300-meter indoor circular test drive track where the public will be able to test drive electric vehicles.
How does GIMS plan to differentiate itself from other auto and mobility shows?
The main difference is that we decided not to go in the direction of general mobility. We want to keep the automobile at the center, but we also want to integrate all the elements that are part of the shift the industry is going through. The difference between GIMS and the other shows is the fact that we have confirmed that we are staying a motor show. It's about staying true to our DNA.
What does that mean for the presence of bicycles or alternative vehicle modes?
They will not be part of the show.