The City of Light will be a little darker in October as the Paris Motor Show has become the latest in a growing list of automotive events to cancel – or, in some cases, postpone – due to the global coronavirus pandemic.
The decision follows the Sunday announcement that the North American International Auto Show in Detroit will be canceled, as well. Other automotive events impacted by the pandemic include auto shows in Geneva, Shanghai and New York, as well as the Goodwood Festival of Speed and even the Indianapolis 500.
“In light of the seriousness of this unprecedented health crisis and its consequent economic shock wave, which has severely struck the automotive sector, we are forced to announce that we will not be able to hold the 2020 Paris Motor Show in its current format at the Porte de Versailles,” show organizers announced.
The Paris Motor Show was originally scheduled to take place from Oct. 1-10. While the primary show has been scrubbed, they did note that several ancillary events, including Movin’ On and Smart City, are still scheduled to take place “for the moment.”
The cancellation is another setback for what was traditionally one of Europe’s biggest automotive events. But, like a number of other auto shows, the luster was already beginning to fade when the last Paris Motor Show was held in 2018. More than a dozen automakers skipped the event and the traditional, two-day media preview ran for barely four hours.
Organizers already were looking for ways to restructure the 2020 show to avoid the fate that befell the Frankfurt Motor Show. Following the poor turnout by both automakers and the public last autumn, that event has been permanently canceled.
“Nothing will ever be as it was and this crisis should teach us to be lean, creative and, more than ever, innovative,” Paris show organizers said.
Their statement left open the possibility that some sort of event not “in its current format” could be staged. Following the cancellation of the Geneva Motor Show at the beginning of March, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Aston Martin and other manufacturers would up staging a virtual show, using webcasts to unveil models that would have taken place at the Swiss event.
Since then, there have been several other virtual debuts, including the unveiling of the next-generation Genesis G80 sedan over this past weekend. Even before the coronavirus struck, many manufacturers were looking at alternatives to traditional auto show debuts. The pandemic could accelerate such a shift, according to some industry observers.
The array of automotive events likely to be impacted by the global pandemic is expected to grow. So far, along with the Paris, Detroit and Geneva cancellations, organizers have announced plans to delay both the Shanghai and New York auto shows.
The Big Apple gathering appears to be facing the prospect of being completely scrubbed, however, as the city’s Jacob Javits Convention Center has been turned into a temporary hospital for the treatment of COVID-19 patients, something that could stretch on for months. Detroit’s TCF Center is similarly being converted into a hospital, a move that forced the cancellation of NAIAS.
The Indy 500 is now rescheduled for Sunday, Aug. 23. But there is some concern that the pandemic could impact events running even beyond then, as the decision by Paris Motor Show organizers underscores. Other automotive events at risk include a variety of classic car shows such as Detroit’s Concours of the Americas and Woodward Dream Cruise, as well as the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.