Automakers are cutting back on the number of staff attending the Geneva auto show next week as health concerns mount over the spread of coronavirus across Europe.
Toyota on Thursday said it is reducing its attendance to include "business critical" staff. Only senior executives and public relations staff with pan-European responsibilities will attend, while staff who represent only national markets will stay behind, it said.
Volkswagen Group will have a reduced presence at the show and only essential personnel will attend, a spokesman told Automobilwoche, a sister publication of Automotive News Europe.
Chinese automaker Aiways said it has been unable to ship the U6ion electric crossover coupe concept to Geneva in time for its planned press conference at the show on Tuesday.
Aiways said the production-ready European version of its U5 electric crossover will be at the show. European deliveries of the U5 are planned to start in August.
The CEOs of Ferrari and brake maker Brembo will not attend planned press events at the show, with Brembo citing the coronavirus outbreak in Italy, where 12 people have died from the virus.
Brembo, which is based in Lombardy, the worst affected area in Italy, postponed a press breakfast planned on Wednesday. Brembo's stand in Geneva will be managed by U.S. and Swiss company representatives, the company said.
A Ferrari spokesman said the company's planned press conference at the show on Tuesday would be attended by its three chiefs of marketing, design and technology, and not by CEO Louis Camilleri.
Infotainment and audio specialist Harman, owned by Korea’s Samsung, said it is pulling out of the show. Harman usually shares a stand with Rinspeed at the event.
Palexpo, the show's organizer, is waiting for guidance from the canton of Geneva on whether public events should be canceled.
"We will follow that recommendation. We are at the end of the chain," a spokesperson told Automotive News Europe.
Swiss health authorities said on Thursday that the country is at yellow alert, which means life can mostly go on as normal. But officials warned the status could go to red, which signifies a pandemic.
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Switzerland has risen to four, officials said on Thursday. One person was tested positive for the virus in Geneva and another two cases were confirmed in a couple in the southeastern Alpine canton of Grisons.
Nick Gibbs, Reuters and Automobilwoche contributed to this report