The salon in virtual form

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The salon in virtual form-form

The salon in virtual form-sports cars Porsche prepared Turbo

The salon in virtual form-sports cars Porsche prepared Turbo

The salon in virtual form-form

The salon in virtual form-salon

The salon in virtual form-sports cars Porsche prepared Turbo

In Geneva you could have admired some beautiful and interesting cars, which the manufacturers have now shown as an alternative via live stream. Traditionally, the highlights in Geneva would have been the sports cars: Porsche had prepared the new 911 Turbo S with 650 hp…

The salon in virtual form

The 2020 Motor Show will not take place – instead, the manufacturers are moving their premieres to the Internet. The future of auto shows?

It should have been the 90th Geneva Motor Show; but with the ban imposed by the federal government on events with more than 1000 visitors, the organizers had to cancel this year’s salon last Friday. It hurts. According to salon director Olivier Rihs, the damage amounts to around 200 to 250 million francs, but has not yet been precisely determined. A postponement of the salon is not possible – because the halls of the Geneva Palexpo site are already planned for the whole year. The complex construction of the facility in the exhibition halls was in vain; The exhibition stands, which are almost finished, are currently being dismantled, and the halls should be empty again by Saturday.

A look back shows how serious the cancellation is: the first motor show in Geneva took place in 1905; In 1907 the fair was relocated to Zurich due to anti-automotive sentiment at Lac Leman; From 1908 to 1922 there was no motor show in Switzerland, also because of the First World War. The Salon was suspended from 1940 to 1946 due to the Second World War – since then it has taken place without exception.

wonder point

Having to cancel the salon is of course a severe blow for the organizers. Especially since the concept of the trade fair had been thoroughly polished for this year – which involved large investments. A stage was created with compact stands for start-ups and small companies. In addition, a 400-meter-long indoor test track was to be set up for the first time, on which trade fair visitors could test new e-cars.

The trade fair was completely canceled for visitors and converted into a “virtual salon” for journalists. The press conferences were not held at the individual stands, but broadcast from all over the world via live stream.

This is of course only an emergency solution – but perhaps one that makes the manufacturers think and could turn out to be a valid alternative to a real trade fair. This is definitely not what the trade fair organizers want. The cancellation is also a pity, because the Salon 2020 would have had what it takes to be an exciting trade fair. As is tradition in Geneva, the highlights would have been the sports cars: Porsche had prepared the new 911 Turbo S with 650 hp, McLaren the limited 765 LT – and Bentley the Mulliner Bacalar: a Continental GT convertible with a completely redesigned body. As is well known, one can argue about taste – but in this case that is in itself unnecessary, because the twelve pieces of the special series have already found an owner for 1.5 million pounds each.

But there were also many premieres planned that are much closer to reality. The flood of new plug-in hybrid models is striking: Skoda Octavia RS iV, VW Touareg R, Cupra Leon, all of them have a petrol-electric drive. This accumulation is of course driven by legislation. In order to achieve the required average of 95 grams of CO2 per kilometer, manufacturers must quickly put many electrified cars on the road. This is hardly feasible with pure electric cars – there is a lack of production capacity, customer acceptance and charging infrastructure.

So the plug-in hybrid is a sensible bridging technology, at least for the manufacturers’ balance sheet. In reality, however, this type of drive only makes sense if the battery is charged regularly – the responsibility lies with the customer here. A responsibility that is of course superfluous with purely electric cars. But these are still a little further down the calendar for many manufacturers – at least in larger quantities.

VW, currently even more busy than planned with the market launch of the ID.3, is showing a first preview of the ID.4 at the digital Geneva Motor Show: A purely electric crossover that, like the already unveiled VW ID.3 and the already announced Skoda Enyaq based on the Group’s modular e-car platform. According to the WLTP measurement, up to 500 kilometers should be possible. However, at the earliest towards the end of the year.

BMW is showing a near-series study of the i4 electric sedan, which is expected in 2021. The design of the four-door is reminiscent of sporty coupes – just like the performance data: 530 hp and from 0 to 100 km/h in around 4 seconds. Even more important: Thanks to the 80 kWh battery, the Bavarian wants to achieve a range of 600 kilometers according to the WLTP standard. Whether the premiere will take place at a classic trade fair or purely digitally cannot yet be estimated. In 2021, however, the Geneva Salon is scheduled to take place from March 4th to 14th.

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