Busan motor show canceled over contagion fear

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Busan motor show canceled over contagion fear

The 2020 Busan International Motor Show, already rumored to be the last after years of declining attendance, has been canceled in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The motor show organizing committee announced in a statement Monday that it will be canceling the biennial motor show this year.

It was originally scheduled for 11 days, starting May 28. The committee added that the motor show will return in 2022.

The Busan International Motor Show is one of the two main events for Korea’s automobile sector, along with the Seoul Motor Show.

This year’s Busan International Motor Show was to be the global launch site for BMW’s redesigned flagship 5 Series. BMW Korea said it is working with its German headquarters to arrange alternative plans for the launch of the new 5 Series.

Many had expected that this year’s iteration, if held as scheduled, could be the end for the Busan motor show. The number of visitors to the biennial exhibition was already in decline, falling from more than 1.1 million during its inaugural event in 2012 to 620,000 by 2018.

The motor show was under pressure even before the virus outbreak, as only three foreign brands - BMW, Mini and Cadillac - had registered to exhibit, while Hyundai Motor, Kia Motors, Renault Samsung Motors and GM Korea were registered only as local participants.

The Busan exhibition joins a number of auto shows that have been canceled or postponed due to concerns with mass gatherings following the coronavirus outbreak.

Europe’s first major annual auto show of the year, the Geneva International Motor Show, originally set to begin March 5, was canceled. The Vancouver International Auto Show, the North American International Auto Show and the Paris Motor Show were also all canceled.

BY KO JUN-TAE [ko.juntae@joongang.co.kr]

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