The 81st (yes, the 81st!) International Motor Show and Accessories is setting up now in Geneva, Switzerland at Palexpo, a gigantic convention centre located right at the Geneva Airport and Airport Train Station (a 3 minute walk). Known locally, as the Salon de Genève, everyone knows without mentioning automobiles that this is what everyone who loves cars has been waiting for and it opens to the public on March 3 until March 13, 2011.
The full name of the show is Le Salon international de l’automobile de Genève and is on equal footing with the automobile shows in Detroit, Paris, and Frankfurt. The first Salon de Genève was held in April 1905 and was a national even organized by the Automobile Club Suisse. In March of 1924 the exposition became international and has been held every year except during World War II. The exposition reopened in 1947 and increased its international popularity every year since.
Salon de Genève, 1924 : image courtesy of ccra.fr
The first 1905 automobile show was so successful in Geneva that there were 59 exhibitors and 13’000 visitors. Last year there were 692’000 visitors. This year there are 251 exhibitors including new companies such as the Indian company, Tata Motors, which belongs to the Tata Group that also owns Taj Hotel and Resorts as well as other companies in India. Tata Company has committed to adhere to socially responsible business practices.
Ferrari Dino Berlinetta Speciale, Premiere 1965: image courtesy of salon-auto.ch
The exhibitors are so numerous now that the salon de Genève website has created a search engine for visitors set up according to major categories and sub-categories which include one separate category called ELECTRIC CARS AND ALTERNATIVE POWERED CARS. In fact, there will again be a Green Pavilion with Green Test Drives for visitors at the Test Drive centre in order to experience a new range of environmentally friendly technologies of the near future.
Test Drive Centre for the Green Autos: image courtesy of salon-auto.ch
Those looking for speed and performance will not be disappointed either. Zonda’s successor is built with a carbon-titanium monocoque and gullwing doors, the new Huayra is powered by a 700HP 6-litre V12 Mercedes-AMG biturbo engine, with torque of more than 1000Nm. Weighing in at only 2’976 pounds, it’s not going to go slowly. The entire transmission system weighs 212 pounds and the power and torque is transferred to the wheels by a seven-speed sequential gearbox with a dual-disc clutch.
The successor to the Zonda, Huayra: image courtesy of salon-auto.ch
Salon de Genève, One of the World’s Most Famous Auto Shows: image courtesy of Wikimedia commons by Wladyslaw
Whatever you do to get to the Salon de Genève, do not drive! The highways will literally turn into parking lots. There is direct train service from downtown Geneva (10 minutes) and many other cities in Switzerland. Swiss Rail is offering combination packages where you can purchase discounted train tickets and admission tickets to the motor show. Furthermore, you will be automatically entered into a prize drawing of a rail voucher worth $300.
There are also buses running from areas in Geneva as well as from France.
The Salon de Genève is open March 3 -13 from 10 AM to 8 PM Monday-Friday and from 9 AM to 7 PM on Saturday and Sunday. General admission for adults is about $16 and for children 6-16 years old as well as seniors is about $9. Groups of over 20 have special rates and if you go to the show after 4 PM there is a 50% discount.
For accommodations, reserve on Geneva Tourism offering packages online from about $116 including
- 1 hotel room
- Free entrance to the Motor show
- Geneva-Pass to enjoy preferential fares up to 50%, discounts and gifts
- Free public transportation in Geneva
You can save money, have the convenience of the Salon de Genève package and enjoy a visit to cosmopolitan Geneva.
For any additional information you may require, please contact the General Secretariat of the International Motor Show, Palexpo, P.O. Box 112, CH – 1218 Grand-Saconnex / Geneva.
Tel. +41 22 761 11 11, Fax +41 22 798 01 00
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Image in the upper right hand corner Fioravanti Formula 1: image courtesy of autosblog.fr