Geneva Motor Show 2020: Visitor’s Guide

March’s Geneva Motor Show marks the 90th anniversary of the exposition, with the 2020 show promising more than 100 World and European premieres. Here’s everything you need to know to be there and enjoy it.

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 coachbuilders 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, and a trip to the Geneva Motor Show 2020 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.

There are many daily flights to the Geneva Motor Show 2020.

For a short break or longer stay, to include the show along with some sightseeing or a holiday, one tip is to find accommodation just over 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 9 CHF or £7. Children under six get in free. The show opens to the public on Thursday 5 March, with the doors opening at 10:00 am and closing again at 8:00 pm every weekday. Weekends have slightly altered hours, with the show running from 9:00 am to 7:00 pm. Buy a ticket after 4:00 pm and it’ll be half price. Sunday 15th March is the final day of the show.

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 manufacturer stands, but the reality is that all one extremely large hall split into two levels. Halls 1 and 2 are on the higher level, so it’s easy enough to navigate.

New for 2020 are the contents of hall 7. This will be turned into a 450-metre test track where 48 vehicles from 15 different brands will be available for visitors to test out themselves. Drives will be raffled via the show app but, while it’s expected that there’ll be around 11,000 test drives over the 11 days of the show, that’s just around 2% of visitors.

This is Frankfurt, but the Geneva Motor Show 2020 will look much the same.

Visitors will also discover the Car of the Year, with the winner being declared prior to the show being open to the public. In the running is the BMW 1 Series, Ford Puma, Peugeot 208, Porsche Taycan, Renault Clio, Tesla Model 3 and Toyota Corolla. My money is on the Ford Puma…

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.

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 Motor Show 2020:

  • Aston Martin will launch a new Vantage Roadster.
  • Two new supercars will be debuting at Geneva; the production-ready Rimac C and the American-based Czinger 21C hybrid supercar.
  • Geneva is the only major international show that McLaren has a major presence at. Get in early to join the queue to the stand to get the chance to sit in the range of its supercars.
  • Porsche is expected to present the Turbo version of the new 992 type 911.
  • See the battle of the latest electric superminis with Fiat showcasing the electric 500, the brand new Mini electric, and the striking Honda E – real, practical and useable electric cars for everyone to use.
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.
  • Download the show app so you can easily buy discounted tickets and take advantage of events happening around the show on the day you attend.
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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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