Barcelona Mobile World Congress test case for future motor shows?
While the 2020 edition was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Mobile World Congress (MWC) is set to host more than 30 000 visitors in Barcelona, opening this June 28th. If all goes well, this could pave the way to the return of other congresses, such as traditional motor shows.
For more than a year, the pandemic has put a fork in the whole economy, our day-to-day lives, and the industry. The automotive industry felt the blow with assembly lines closing, the microchip shortage, and all motor shows being canceled one after the other. Alternatives had to be found, such as the virtual motor shows, but many wonder if we’ll ever walk the stands of a traditional motor show again.
Now that vaccination is underway, hope for a new return to normal is rising; however, not for all in the auto industry. In April, the Japanese Car Manufacturers Association (JAMA) announced that there wouldn’t be any Tokyo Motor Show in the fall of 2021. The Olympics are still set to start on July 23, however.
The future of the traditional motor show maybe lies elsewhere. This Thursday, the Global System for Mobile Communications Association (GSMA) announced that the 2021 Mobile Wold Congress would open its doors in Barcelona on June 28.
While organizers don’t know yet how many visitors will be allowed – they’re planning on between 30 000 and 50 000 – the congress will take a new hybrid form, comprised of virtual and physical presentations.
This information has to be taken with a pinch of salt, as last year’s edition was canceled at the last minute due to many brands deserting the fields. This year, Samsung, Amazon, Intel, and Lenovo have already declined to participate.
Light at the end of the tunnel?
If the 2021 Mobile Wold Congress goes swiftly, it could very well pave the way for future motor shows. On that note, the Automobile Barcelona 2021 Motor Show will follow the MWC this July. It should be the first major motor show in Europe to open its doors since the pandemic hit.
The Spanish Association of Automobile and Truck Manufacturers (Anfac) implements a strict prevention protocol, with large spaces allowing for social distancing, visitor flow and capacity control, ventilation, air renewal systems, and maximum use of outdoor spaces. Both the Mobile Congress and the Automobile Barcelona should demonstrate if there is still a future for motor shows.