2020 – 2021


The 90th Show was cancelled as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. This stemmed from the Federal Council’s decision of 28 February 2020, banning any event with more than 1,000 people until 15 March 2020. The decision came three days before the exhibition was due to open to the media. The 2021 event was also unable to take place due to the health situation, which had not improved.


1990 – 2011

Over the years, Palexpo has grown. In 1988, the event was attracting 600,000 visitors a year and by 2000 visitor rates had expanded to 700,000. A peak of 747,700 admissions was reached at the 75th event in 2005, marking the 100th anniversary of GIMS. In late 2008, the global financial crisis affected multiple sectors, including the automotive industry. Despite the challenging times, all manufacturers continued to exhibit at Geneva’s major automotive event. Nevertheless, attendance at the show fell below the 700,000 visitors mark in 2009 and 2010, before bouncing back to 735,000 in 2011, which represented the second-best result of all time.

1981 – 1989

Geneva’s new Exhibition and Congress Centre (Palexpo), located close to the airport and the current train station, opened its doors on 18 December 1981.

In January 1982, Palexpo hosted its first event, the International Utility Vehicle Show, followed in March by the Geneva International Motor Show. The appeal of the new centre, one of the most modern in Europe, produced a new record audience in 1982, with 745,919 admissions across the two events.

In 1985, the organising committee of the Geneva International Motor Show was forced to find a solution to accommodate the development of the Heavy Goods Vehicle Show, for which it lacked space. In 1987, this led to Transpublic, the International Public Transport and Municipal Services Show. This specialist exhibition was designed to showcase all passenger transport and municipal vehicles, while also featuring rail and cable transport, as well as airport infrastructure. Two Transpublic events were held in Geneva, in 1987 and 1989.

1947 – 1980

Following the interruption caused by the war, the Geneva Motor Show was the first event in the automotive sector to reopen its doors, which occurred in 1947. It proved a considerable success, with 305 exhibitors occupying 9,608 m2. Since then, the Geneva International Motor Show has grown steadily. In 1948, it crossed the threshold of 200,000 visitors, followed by 300,000 in 1960 and 500,000 in 1967.

Given the significant development of the transport sector, an exhibition of utility vehicles accompanied the Motor Show starting in 1970, but only in even years. This took place a few weeks before the main event and helped solve the problems of space faced by the Motor Show, at least temporarily. In 1972, however, the possibility of building a new Exhibition Centre outside the city centre began to be examined.

1926 - 1939

From 1926 to 1939, the number of exhibitors gradually grew beyond 200, forcing the organisers to add a temporary hall to the Palais des Expositions, which was now too small. By 1934, the Geneva Motor Show had earned a worldwide reputation.

1923 – 1925

The challenging times meant that the following years were marked by a series of unsuccessful attempts to put on another automotive show in Switzerland. It was not until 1923 that the fourth Swiss Motor Show was able to open in the Bâtiment électoral in Geneva, under the chairmanship of Robert Marchand, who played a significant role in improving and expanding the Show, as well as advancing the Swiss automotive industry.

The success of the fourth Show led to the creation of the Standing Committee of the International Motor Show in Geneva on 23 November 1923.

The committee got to work immediately, organising the first International Motor, Motorcycle and Cycle Show in Geneva, from 14 to 23 March 1924.

The high number of registrations required an 8,000 m2 building to be constructed on the Plaine de Plainpalais.

The President of the Swiss Confederation, Ernest Chuard, opened this first international Show with due ceremony. It brought together 200 exhibitors and welcomed 68,000 visitors. The boost it gave to sales was such that the number of motor vehicles in Switzerland increased from 33,000 to 39,000 in a year. No sooner had the Show closed, than the committee began looking for a suitable venue for its event. The second International Show was held in 1925, again in the Bâtiment électoral, and in a temporary hall of 12,500 m2, built on the Plaine de Plainpalais.

Work began on building an Exhibition Centre in the autumn, thanks to the efforts of Robert Marchand and financial support from both the cantonal and municipal authorities in Geneva, and those with industrial and commercial interests in the canton. The Show was held there from 1926 onwards, in June rather than the spring. That year it welcomed 224 exhibitors, including 83 makes of car from eight different countries, and 25 makes of motorcycle.

1905 - 1907


The first Motor Show in Switzerland was held from 29 April to 7 May 1905 in the Bâtiment électoral in Geneva. The chair of the organising committee was Charles Louis Empeyta, who was also the president of the Swiss Automobile Club (ACS).

The event was an immediate success: the Show and its 37 stands welcomed over 17,000 visitors and the Confederation sent Federal Councillor Ludwig Forrer to the inauguration. Buoyed by its success, Geneva went on to repeat the operation from 28 April to 6 May 1906. The third event, however, took place in Zurich, in 1907.