Automakers are counting the cost of the sudden cancellation of the Geneva auto show last week in response to health threats from the coronavirus epidemic.
The decision, reached just four days before the annual event was to open to the media Tuesday, March 3, came as Swiss authorities called a halt to all gatherings of 1,000 people or more.
Aside from the lost opportunity for 160 automotive companies to shine in what is annually a celebration of luxury vehicles, sports cars, exotic brands and bold, new styling trends, there is another certain repercussion: The cancellation is one more blow to the tradition of glitzy worldwide car shows.
Some automakers in recent years have been retreating from the expense and fuss of major auto shows from Detroit to Tokyo, events where attendance once was viewed as required for competitors showing off their latest achievements.
Even before the plug was pulled late last week, Geneva, Europe's leading annual car show, was already down on participants based on decisions by Ford, Jaguar Land Rover and Nissan to skip what would have been its 90th year.
But interest had remained high with a raft of anticipated product unveilings planned by BMW, Daimler, Toyota, Hyundai, Kia, Bentley and Volkswagen Group brands. Automakers last week were exploring ideas on alternative ways to showcase their planned world debuts.