If the automotive world were turning on a normal axis, we, along with 10,000 fellow journalists and 600,000 other attendees, would now be packing our bags for a visit to the giant Palexpo exhibition centre, near the airport on the outskirts of Geneva for the annual Salon de l’Automobile.
In recent times, Geneva has been the most eagerly anticipated of all the various motor shows for three key reasons. It ushers in the European spring and thus the motoring year; it’s famously even-handed, refusing to be overwhelmed by the interests of any mammoth local manufacturers; and, despite strong growth in recent years, it’s still regarded as right-sized.
You can do your job on Tuesday’s opening press day and half of Wednesday yet still get the plane home in time for dinner. Unless, of course, you divert for a day or two to the ski slopes, as some no doubt do.
This year, sadly, there won’t be a Geneva International Motor Show – or GIMS, as they’ve lately taken to calling it. Not officially, anyway. For the second year in a row, the global Covid-19 pandemic has thwarted Switzerland’s biggest public event, worth around £160 million to the local economy, which began in 1905 at the very dawn of the motor car.
True, virus troubles have kiboshed plenty of other shows as well, but this is the one we find that we miss most.
However, Autocar has decided not to take the matter lying down. It’s perfectly clear from the volume and cadence of news that has broken in the 10 weeks since this year began that many new cars and corporate announcements were deliberately planned a long time ago to break at the 2021 Geneva motor show.
Therefore, here we present the cars that would have been the stars and the people who would have been grabbing the attention of all present.
Magic 5 reborn
Renault’s dramatic revival, signalled by the coining of the word Renaulution and a promise to resurrect the famous 5 supermini as an affordable small electric car, would surely have been one of the highlights of Geneva, along with a high-profile presentation by new Renault Group boss Luca de Meo. Instead, we’ve recently had a series of digital presentations. The electric 5 will be one of 24 new Renault Group vehicles (10 of them EVs) over the next five years. Look for production models in 2023, plus a reinvented electric 4 soon after.
Jaguar plans all-electric future - and gets radical