Geneva Motor Show 2018 – what is it, when is it and how do I get there?

Ed Wiseman
The Spirit of Ecstasy is pictured on the bonnet of a Rolls-Royce at the Geneva Motor Show in 2016 - but what will await visitors this year? - DENIS BALIBOUSE /AUTOSHOW-GENEVA 

The Geneva motor show is one of the biggest in the European automotive calendar and the first major event of the year. Held every year in March, it gives manufacturers an opportunity to reveal their latest creations to the world, and it gives us a chance to glimpse all of the exciting new cars before driving them later in the year.

It takes place in Palexpo, a colossal convention centre close to Geneva airport. The site is around 500m south-east of Switzerland's border with France, on the other side of the runway. It's organised by the Organisation Internationale des Constructeurs d'Automobiles (OICA), which is responsible for a number of high-profile automotive shows around the globe, and is more than a century old.

Visiting the Geneva Motor Show 2018

The Geneva motor show – technically the Geneva International Motor Show – is open to the public from March 8 to March 18. During the week, the show is open from 10am until 8pm, and on the weekend this is brought forward to 9am and 7pm (Switzerland uses Central European Time (CET) which is one hour ahead of Greenwich Mean Time).

Switzerland also uses Swiss francs (CHF), which at the time of writing is worth 77p, or 87 euro cents. Entry to the show costs CHF 16.- for adults and CHF 9.- for children aged six to 16. For more information, please visit the official site here.

Getting to Geneva

The show's proximity to the airport makes it easy to access from the UK, with flights taking under two hours from London airports. Driving is more interesting, but allow for a realistic journey time of 12 hours. Note that everything is extremely expensive in Switzerland, including parking.

Given how popular the Geneva motor show is every year, the 'best' hotels will already be fully booked so consider staying over the border in France. If you plan on driving into Geneva on the day of the show, allow an extra two hours. 

What's on at the 2018 Geneva motor show

As always, we already know a lot about what to expect, but there will inevitably be surprises waiting to be revealed. There are the usual suspects – yet more SUVs of all sizes and prices, fashionable superminis, preposterous hypercars and dubious concepts – but this year there are some particular areas to watch out for.