Geneva Motor Show: Visitor’s Guide

You’ve seen the highlights of the Geneva Motor Show in the magazines and websites, but there’s still time to head to the show and see the latest cars for yourself.

Geneva stands alone as the show that attracts the broadest selection of mainstream manufacturers, supercar companies, auto design houses and coachbuilders, all presented in seven exhibition halls.

With more than 70 exhibitors attending, from major manufacturers such as BMW, Toyota and Kia, to supercar marques such as Pagani, Koenigsegg, and Bugatti, plus design houses Italdesign, Sbarro and others. Exotic coach builders like Pininfarina and Touring Superleggera are also there, as are niche British brands like Eadon Green and Morgan.

It’s not too late to see all of this for yourself, amd a trip to the Geneva show from the UK can be a completed in a single day trip. Here’s a handy guide to help you plan your trip…

Getting there

An early morning flight from most UK Airports will take you straight to Geneva. Flight time is a little over an hour, depending on your departing airport. You simply turn left outside the arrivals exit and follow the signs to the ‘Palexpo’ and, after a brisk 15 minute stroll, you will be at the entrance of the show – it couldn’t be more convenient.

Direct flights are available to Geneva with British Airways, Swiss Air, easyJet, Flybe and Jet2 from London (City, Gatwick, Heathrow and Luton) and most regional UK airports too.

For a short break or longer stay to include the show with a sightseeing or holiday, one tip is to find accommodation near the Swiss border in France. Geneva is not a cheap place to stay at the best of times, but combine the impact of people working at or attending the show with the influx of skiers, and budget accordingly.

Getting in

Entrance to the show is just 16 Swiss Francs (CHF) which is currently about £13, while adding a child increases the cost by 9CHF or £7. Children under six get in free. The show is open now, from 10am to 8pm every weekday, with weekends running from 9am to 7pm. Sunday 17th March is the final day.

Tickets can be purchased in advance at the official show website, but you won’t have any difficulties buying them at the door.

What’s inside

The show is held in 7 halls. Halls 1 to 6 contain the main car stands and hall 7 holds associated automotive accessories and equipment stands. Essentially halls 1 to 6 are one extremely large hall split into 2 levels with halls 1 and 2 being on the higher level.

For British visitors a major highlight will be Bentley Motors celebrating its 100th anniversary. Bentley has unveiled a limited-edition version of the Continental GT that pays homage to one of the great Bentley Boys cars of the past. Visitors will also discover the Car of the Year, with the winner being declared prior to the show being open to the public from the Alpine A110, Citroen C5 Aircross, Ford Focus, Jaguar I-Pace, Kia Ceed, Mercedes-Benz A-Class and Peugeot 508. We won’t spoil the result here.

As well as every major car manufacturer having their own stands, the show contains exhibitions, motoring accessories, boutiques, toys, models, and a vast array of merchandise available to purchase.

Tag Heuer traditionally has an exhibition in hall 3 and this year the watch manufacturer is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Tag Heuer Monaco watch. Check out some historic race cars and simulators here, too.

The other special display will be in hall 6 where ‘Abarth’ will have a special collection of 20 racing cars from the 1950s to 1990s.

What’s launching

This is your chance to see up close (and even sit in) all these new cars for the first time. A big international motor show provides an opportunity to directly compare your choice of car and to see the facelift or next generation concept before you commit to buy. Here are just some of the highlights of the Geneva Show:

Aston Martin will have a SUV electric concept launching the Lagonda sub brand for its electric cars of the future.

Bugatti will announce a special styled limited-edition Chiron Sport as the French brand reaches its own 120-year anniversary.

Geneva is the only major international show that McLaren has a major presence at. Be the first to see the 720S Spider revealed.

Porsche is expected to present the cabriolet version of the new 992 type 911.

See exotic car build and design at its very best with the unveiling of the Pininfarina Barrista.

And Honda will have a near production ready small electric car called the ‘e’.

Top Tips

  • Wear comfortable shoes.
  • Bring a small backpack. If you want to collect brochures, pens, hats, t-shirts and other freebies, you’ll soon tire of a thin plastic bag.
  • Carry plenty of water. You will need it, especially as the halls heat up later in the day.
  • Walk past the first entrance, which is to Hall 7. By carrying on around the outside of the building you will reach the main entrance and be well placed for the main car exhibits that begin in Hall 1.
  • Hand your coat or jacket in at the entrance to avoid carrying around the show. You’d be surprised just how heavy and cumbersome it can become.
  • Print a copy of the hall layout in advance from the show web site so you can make a plan of the car stands you really want to see.
  • It is possible to take an early flight, see the show, and return home in a day, saving you the cost of a hotel room in Geneva.
  • Bring some foreign currency with you to avoid transaction charges. Swiss francs is the currency you need, not euros.

Eric Bottrell

Eric Bottrell is a freelance journalist, qualified lawyer and Chartered Accountant, who has spent a career working in government, and for the public and private sectors. With a lifelong interest and career in transport, he regularly reports from International Trade and Expo shows on all transport related issues.

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