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Geneva (March 2005)

Name: The 75th Geneva International Motor show
Show dates: Press Days: Tuesday, March 1 to Wednesday, March 2, 2005 2 days
Public Exhibition: Thursday, March 3 to Sunday, March 13, 2005 11 days
Venue: Palexpo

Outline and Impressions of Show:

The 75th Geneva Motor Show was held in Geneva, Switzerland over an 11 days period from Thursday, March 3 to Sunday, March 13, 2005. The venue, Palexpo, has an excellent location just five minutes walk from Geneva Airport and three minutes walk from the Geneva Airport Railway Station. Total exhibition space is 114,000 m². This year the show celebrated a “double anniversary.” It is a century since it began as a local, domestic show and 75 years since it became an international show. The show concept was “The past, the present and the future.” Each year the show serves as a forum for announcing new vehicles and technologies, and the theme underscores its intention to continue to be a Mecca of new concept cars and designs well into the future.

Exhibitors this year represented approximately 900 brands from 261 companies in 30 countries. The layout of the exhibition was the same as past years. Halls 1 and 2 were occupied by the Volkswagen Group and the GM Group; Hall 4 mostly by Japanese automakers (Toyota, Nissan, Mazda, Daihatsu, Suzuki); Hall 5 by Ford and Fiat; and Hall 6 by the DaimlerChrysler Group, Hyundai and the BMW Group. Near the centers of Halls 1, 2, 4 and 5, surrounded by the finished carmakers, were carrozzeria exhibitors. The halls provided lighting suspended from the ceiling, but many automakers used their own illumination to differentiate themselves from the competition. With 114,000 m² of floor space, the venue is fairly large, but it did not seem so to the viewer because the exhibition halls are not divided up and they therefore felt like a single, continuous space. The booths had a height restriction of 1.65 m, which allowed the entire hall to be seen and in the process removed any feeling of oppressiveness, even when walking down the aisles. Our overall impression was that this was a very easy show for the visitor to view. On the other hand, we also noticed some differences in sensitivities and culture. The first concerns barrier-free design of the booths. All of the booths had a step of 15-20 cm, and most booths only had slopes in the approach area. Another concern was smoking; cylindrical ashtrays were installed around the hall and we observed some exhibitors standing around smoking in front of them, or walking around the show with lit cigarettes in their mouths. There appears to be less of an orientation to words smoking bans or separate smoking than one would find in Japan or the United States.
Turning to the design of the booths, our impression was that the exhibitors focused their energies precisely on showing off their cars. Automakers displaying world premieres made quite clear that a world premiere car was on view, and this is something that the Tokyo Show could learn from. There was not much in the way of loud, flashy song and dance, but we were surprised by the large number of female attendants on hand for press photo shoots.

And as a special event to celebrate the 100th/75th anniversary of the Geneva Show, the organizers produced a “cinema set” that allows you to experience the development of automobiles in Switzerland. Re-creating the history of Swiss motorization, which began in 1905, using actual vehicles and mannequins, this was an extremely unique and interesting glimpse at the past. The wall at the exhibit entrance was made up like a traditional house, and the well off to the side provides indication of the detail and care that went into the display. Upon entering, the lights are somewhat dimmed, giving the impression that you are at a Disneyland attraction. Mannequins wearing the fashions of the day were placed next to real vehicles as if it were a scene from a movie. We found the overall production to be extremely engaging. Near the exit was a souvenir shop selling a commemorative book of more than 300 pages, gold and silver commemorative coins and two varieties of commemorative stamps. Our impression was then Geneva went all out to celebrate its centennial.

This year the Geneva Show marked an important milestone with its centennial. We look forward to the future, watching how Geneva uses its position as a non-automaking country to continue to evolve and grow.
Overhead view
Toyota world premiere
Toyota Booth
Nissan Booth
Overhead lighting (Citroen)
Centennial Commemorative Vehicle Exhibit
Centennial Commemorative Exhibit Hall
Inside the Centennial Commemorative Exhibit Hall
Inside the Centennial Commemorative Exhibit Hall