This Is Why Geneva Is The Best Annual Auto Show In The World
Writing the book on auto show greatnessby Jonathan Lopez, on
The 87th Geneva International Motor Show is very nearly upon us, and with its arrival comes the promise of a steady parade of bright and shiny new autos. So far, the lineup this year is looking quite good indeed, especially after less-than-stellar showings in Detroit and Chicago. Not that those two North American shows were necessarily bad, but compared to Geneva, they simply can’t keep pace. And there are a few good reasons for that, but the big one is this – the Geneva International Motor Show is simlply the best annual auto show in the world.
I know, that’s quite the assertion, especially given the caliber of shows hosted elsewhere in the world. But for us, Geneva is where it’s at to get your annual fix of production debuts and new concepts. Maybe we’ll be eating our words if some other annual event ends up bringing the goods in a big way in 2017, but it’s doubtful.
So read on and get hyped because the good stuff is just around the corner. And don’t forget to post your opinion in the comments section, because Internet fights are so much better when everyone participates.
Continue reading for the full story.
Geneva Is Neutral And Beautiful
Here’s the thing about Switzerland – there’s no domestic automakers. And please don’t even mention Rinspeed, because unless it starts selling its underwater Elise submarine or self-driving living room concept in bulk, it doesn’t count as a real automaker.
The point I’m trying to make is this – no matter which automaker shows up to display its wares, it’s a foreigner. And that means there’s no domestic influence or emphasis on any particular make, which provides a level playing ground for all those participating.
No matter what, Geneva provides a level playing ground for all those participating.
Here’s an example of an unequal playing ground – the North American Auto Show, Detroit, 2015. After more than a decade of waiting and endless teasers, Honda/Acura finally reveals the highly anticipated second-generation NSX. It’s powerful, high-tech, and sharp as a razor. Then, out of nowhere, Ford gives us the new GT, stealing the show and a good amount of the NSX’s hybrid thunder. Clearly, both are incredible machines, but the homebrew Blue Oval walked away as the clear publicity winner.
That game won’t work in Geneva. Sure, the Europeans have a shorter commute compared to automakers from Asia and North America, but the locals aren’t playing favorites.
Speaking of locals, Geneva is an absolutely gorgeous city. Situated between the Alps and Jura mountains, it’s a city of many languages and cultures, and it’s steeped in a rich history. This is a fantastic destination for whatever you’re into, offering loads of attractive features beyond the annual auto show glamour. Also, chocolate. So yeah, there’s that.
The Lineup Is As Diverse As It Is Awesome
As for Geneva, well, there is no theme. The cars you’ll see here range from affordable entry-level eco boxes, all the way to the very top the high-end hyper cars. In fact, supercar makes like Ferrari, McLaren, and Pagani seem to favor Geneva when it comes to the latest and greatest, so maybe if there is a theme, it’s “very fast and out of your price range.” And that ain’t too bad, is it?
The Debuts Are Huge And Amazing
It seems like every year, the battle for the biggest and best debut in Geneva gets more and more heated. For example, in 2016, we saw the Rimac Concept_One, Aston Martin DB11, Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport, Porsche 911 R, Koenigsegg Regera, and mighty Bugatti Chiron all bow. At the same show.
You Never Really Know What To Expect
With so much hype and publicity surrounding the Geneva Motor Show, the big makes have been known to reveal some pretty big surprises from time to time. Occasionally, these are teased through shadowy pictures and suggestive videos, but other times, no hints are provided and our jaws drop with the sheet pull. The possibilities are practically endless, and that’s a very exciting prospect indeed.
Even The Niche Makes Get In On The Action
Where do you introduce the world to your latest multi-million dollar spaceship if you’re a small Swedish manufacturer like Koenigsegg? Why, at Geneva, of course. This is where the bog boys come to play, but even if you’re not Ferrari, or Porsche, or Aston Martin, you can rest assured your creation will get the attention it deserves. Especially if it’s making 1,500 horsepower and worth a cool $2 million.
It’s About Quality, Not Quantity
At about a quarter million square feet of exhibition space, the Geneva Motor Show is big – but it’s not that big. For example, the Chicago Auto Show offers roughly four times that amount of floor space, but as we all know, Geneva is where you wanna be by comparison. That means less filler and a higher caliber of vehicle on display, with only the best and brightest making the cut.
Timing Is Everything
With an annual schedule that kicks off in February, the Geneva Motor Show is well placed to set the tone for the rest of the year. This is where the automakers make their big statements, prepping us car lovers for the inevitable yearlong comparisons and drool fests that come with each major debut. “Was it good?” they might ask. “Sure, but was it as good as what was shown in Geneva?”
So that’s it, folks. Enjoy Geneva, because odds are it’ll be an impossible standard to meet for all the other auto shows on the docket for 2017. At least until Frankfurt arrives, that is. But that’s biennial, so you know, apples to oranges, right?