Speculation is growing that the Beijing motor show in April will be postponed in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.
This would follow the postponed Formula 1 race in Shanghai and the cancelled Mobile World Congress technology show in Barcelona.
There has been no official announcement on the Beijing show (officially known as Auto China 2020), which is scheduled to open on 21 April and close on 30 April. However, Autocar sources have reported that the organisers are telling exhibitors the show is “postponed until further notice”.
“It’s unofficial, but we’re pretty certain the show won’t happen in April,” said one source, “and whether it will be rescheduled for the coming weeks depends on the virus.”
With travel bans in place, international flights on hold and the streets of Beijing being regularly treated with chemicals in an attempt to halt the spread of the virus, the decision makes sense.
Autocar attempted to contact the organisers in Beijing, including show chairman Wang Xia, but his email address, plus those of two press relations executives, was mysteriously not working, while a fourth executive failed to reply.
Questions to the Paris-based organisation OICA, The International Organisation of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers, under whose umbrella the international motor show circuit is organised, were referred to Beijing. “You need to ask the organisers,” we were told.
Postponement of the show will be a blow to a Chinese car industry that’s struggling to recover from two successive market drops in 2018 and 2019.
China remains the world’s biggest market for new cars, with 22.3 million registered last year. Until 2018, it had enjoyed 20 years of unparalled growth since the last decline in 1997.