Whenever I go to Geneva, Switzerland, it’s typically for one reason and one reason only: the Auto show. Well, and also to look at the wonderful watch ads. But mostly for the Auto show.
I am somewhat apologetic about this, because I know Geneva and it’s people have so much more to offer than just beautifully constructed automobiles, but being one of the most expensive cities I have ever visited (I remember getting a burger at Burger King at the airport for $15), I don’t find myself staying for too long. Besides, the car show takes up almost all my time when I’m there.
As a very serious car enthusiast, I make a point to visit at least one auto show a year (preferably more) whether domestically or internationally. From New York, to Detroit, to Paris, to Frankfurt, then Tokyo, there is no shortage of auto shows to choose from, but I consider the Geneva International Motor Show to be the godfather of them all.
Salon International de L’ Auto, or the Geneva International Motor Show, is conducted annually in the city of Geneva, Switzerland. The show takes place in the Geneva Palexpo convention center. The Geneva show is widely regarded as the most important and most encompassing show in the world. Every car company is here, and I mean every last one of them! All commercial car production companies as well as all concept car production companies display at the Geneva Auto Show.
I have not yet visited the auto shows in Paris, Tokyo or Frankfurt (though I have been to Geneva’s twice), but I plan to over the next couple of years, so until then, I will reserve commenting on which one is the best.
To me, any auto show showcasing a lot of great cars is top notch in my book. But I am especially partial to the ones with a lot of concept cars cause I love to see what the wonderful brains of the designers are concocting up for the future (quick confession: for the longest time in my early 20s, I struggled with giving up my dream to be a concept car designer and instead going the business route. I have now made peace with the decision and instead, I have decided, I will one day own and direct a concept car design firm :D).
If you’re American, you’re probably wondering, “why would I have to go all the way to Geneva to go see an auto show when I can just go see the one in New York or Detroit?” Well, to me, it’s simple: American auto shows will focus only on the cars that the American consumers consume while an international show like Geneva’s will bring you a world of possibility in automobiles. So while you’ll see your Audis, BMWs and Jaguars at the New York show, you won’t see what’s next for Alpina, Morgan, Koenigsegg, or the latest Italdesign concept and tunings by Brabus.
Did I mention that the Geneva show is also a much less crowded show than its American counterparts? That’s a huge draw for me. While I love people, crowds can be bothersome at auto shows because you can hardly navigate, much less take pictures. It can sometimes becomes a painful experience instead of a fulfilling one. At the Geneva show, you get the sense that everyone there is there because they really love and appreciate cars, and not because they were bored and heard there’s some show at the Javitz and want to go show off their latest threads.
Unless you are a serious car enthusiast like me, I am not suggesting packing you bags and traveling to Geneva solely for the auto show, but if you are at least a mild car enthusiast, and you find yourself in Europe around the second and third weeks in March (when the Geneva show is held annually), I’d highly recommend you give the Geneva International Motor Show a look!