Is it a Geneva lounge? A living room? Or a studio? The industry is full of jokes about the latest edition of the Geneva Motor Show.

The irony of the physical downsizing of what was once the world's most prestigious motor show is infectious. So too is the melancholy of seeing a dozen brands occupying a meagre pavilion at Palexpo.

It's hard to imagine a future for such a show. This has rekindled the discussion (misleading in my opinion) that the 'Salon' format no longer works, is out of fashion, no longer appeals to the public, and so on.

I think it's more interesting to reverse the perspective and ask whether the problem isn't so much with the 'Show' as with 'those who didn't want to come to the Show'. In other words, the vast majority of manufacturers rationalise their justification by saying, "Shows cost too much, we need to concentrate our investments on something else", as they hide their confusion in the face of a frightening revolution.

Salon de Genève 2024, stand Renault

Geneva Motor Show 2024, Renault stand

What do we do when we're scared? We shrink back, we avoid direct confrontation, we prefer to do things alone (including major events). We do what interests us, opportunistically and in the short term. The reaction is instinctive and applies just as much to individuals as to companies, even multinationals.

This is how the car industry is increasingly looking inward, particularly European manufacturers. The Geneva Motor Show is the manifestation of this trend, a very dangerous 'every-man-for-himself' attitude that risks weakening the industry even further, both in the eyes of public opinion and in the eyes of politicians.

2024 Geneva Motor Show, Ferrari Dino GT

Geneva Motor Show 2024, Ferrari Dino GT in the Classic department

2024 Geneva Motor Show

Geneva Motor Show 2024

I would add that 'going it alone' feeds the self-absorption that was already an omnipresent vice in the management of car manufacturers, and which is now further encouraged by the dissemination of digital platforms. Everything seems possible, controllable, manageable and influential. All you have to do is pay. It's a pity that this is the antechamber to losing touch with reality, which is precisely what we advise our children not to do before going to work.

I came back from Geneva worried about this. Seeing the empty exhibition with my own eyes, I realised that this sector is not yet sufficiently aware of how complex revolutions are approached, i.e. by working as a system, side by side. Yes, even with stands, which may be old from a conceptual point of view, but which are physical and make it possible to stand together as one.

Gallery: Geneva Motor Show 2024