UPDATE: The Geneva Motor Show has been canceled after the Swiss government banned large gatherings in an attempt to curb the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. Here is the latest version of events. Previous story appears below.
FRANKFURT — Carmakers are reducing staff attending Geneva’s car show next week as Switzerland confirmed three new cases of the coronavirus, including one in Geneva.
Toyota on Thursday said it is paring back 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.
Palexpo, the organizer of the international exhibition, insisted that the car show will go ahead even as the Geneva watch fair was cancelled and as Swiss authorities reported the virus had spread to Geneva.
Travel restrictions and fears over the spread of the virus have already caused postponement or cancellation of other trade fairs, including the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Frankfurt’s Light + Building fair and the Beijing Auto Show.
Shanghai-based AIWAYS late on Wednesday said it had been unable to ship its electric U6ion coupe from China to Switzerland, citing “circumstances beyond our control” related to the coronavirus.
On Wednesday it emerged that the chief executives of Ferrari and brake manufacturer Brembo had cancelled their attendance at the Swiss car show, owing to travel restrictions imposed by Italian authorities.