The coronavirus has caused several automotive-related events in China to be canceled, including the Beijing Auto Show and the Chinese Formula One Grand Prix.
And now the first big auto event outside of China has been called off. Switzerland has banned gatherings that will attract more than 1,000 people, so that means there won’t be a Geneva auto show.
The ban is effective immediately and runs at least until March 15, but Geneva organizers have told automakers that the show won’t happen. And I wouldn’t be surprised to see more events cancelled as the coronavirus spreads across the globe.
I’m wondering if this would qualify as an event that would trigger the exhibitor’s or producer’s catastrophe insurance to cover the costs spent so far and losses from not being able to sell tickets to the public. This is an impact on insurance companies and reinsurance companies besides all the venders and auto manufacturers.
Looking carefully at the GIMS statement: “This is a case of force majeure and a tremendous loss for the manufacturers...” So does something defined as force majeure qualify as a catastrophe? Most of those policies require a chart of specifics they cover. This may not be released to the press but may only impact the profits of these companies.
It looks from that statement that they’re seeking to indemnify themselves against losses by OEMs due to their decision. Maybe not so much on this issue, but with Geneva as a precedent, the level of nervousness has just been kicked up one level of DEFCON for them regarding the Olympics where I’m sure they’re involved.
"The 90th edition of the GIMS, which was supposed to welcome the media from next Monday and the general public from March 5 to 15, 2020, will now finally not take place. This is an injunction of the Federal Council of February 28, 2020 that no events with more than 1,000 people are allowed to take place until March 15, 2020. The decision falls 3 days before the opening of the exhibition to the media."
The organizers accept this decision: "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," said Maurice Turrettini, Chairman of the Foundation Board. We would like to warmly thank all those involved in the organization of the 2020 edition of GIMS.
A few days before the opening of the event, the construction of the stands was very nearly complete. A week ago, during the press conferences announcing the 2020 edition, there was nothing to suggest that such a measure was necessary. The situation changed with the appearance of the first confirmed coronavirus diseases in Switzerland and the injunction of the Federal Council on 28.02.2020. The event is cancelled due to this decision.
In the meantime, the dismantling of the event will now have to be organized. The financial consequences for all those involved in the event are significant and will need to be assessed over the coming weeks. One thing is certain: tickets already purchased for the event will be refunded. The organizers will communicate about this as soon as possible, via their website.
The impact will be seen in annual auto sales and supply chains on a global basis. The impact to the stock market and the economy is yet to be seen.
If you were looking forward to the show, expect manufacturers to find another way to launch their products. The video above and here shows the top 17 reveals that were expected.
Lauren Fix, The Car Coach® is a nationally recognized automotive expert, media guest, journalist, author, keynote speaker and television host. Post your comments on Twitter: @LaurenFix or on her Facebook Page.
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