Staged for the first time from October 7 to October 14, Genva International Motor Show (GIMS) Qatar is the only automotive event to offer four exhibition stages: a traditional exhibition in the Doha Exhibition and Convention Center (DECC), “Offroad Adventures” in the desert, “Track Days” at Lusail International Circuit for high-performance vehicles, and the Urban Playground on Lusail Boulevard to celebrate the passion of the automobile, encompassing all types of cars.
Added to that was the Formula 1 Qatar Grand Prix 2023, which was staged on October 8.
Automotive Industries (AI) asked , to share the journey and planning that led to the realization of GIMS Qatar 2023.
Mesquita: The GIMS Qatar project came into being in August 2021 with the signing of the partnership between GIMS and Qatar Tourism.
From the outset, the specifications included the objective of preserving everything that defines the character and identity of the Geneva event at the Doha event: international stage, legendary neutrality, world-class experience, compact and easy access.
Given the number and diversity of our partners in Qatar, numerous meetings were organized to transmit and explain these key elements.
Among the challenges, the fact that GIMS Qatar took place simultaneously on five different sites in Doha required increased coordination due to the large number of stakeholders involved.
It has to be said that, despite the difficulties inherent in organizing such an event, listening and communication were always cordial and open, uniting all the stakeholders around a common objective.
AI: GIMS Qatar 2023 is described as a “must-visit” for car enthusiasts. What makes this event different to other motor shows?
Mesquita: There are several aspects that make the GIMS Qatar a unique event.
First of all, in its more than 100-year history, this is the first time that the Geneva International Motor Show has expanded and organized an event beyond its borders.
This is not a relocation from Geneva to Doha, but rather the creation of a second platform for the GIMS brand.
Secondly, Qatar Tourism’s decision to coincide GIMS Qatar with the Qatar Airways Qatar Formula 1 Grand Prix is a premiere in itself.
This, along with other activities we have organized in the city of Doha, contributes to a true celebration, a festival, centered on the automobile.
AI: With over 50 countries represented by the media, could you elaborate on the international significance of GIMS Qatar 2023?
Judging by the substantial presence of press from various parts of the world, we believe we have succeeded in this regard.
The significant press attendance—and that of the public as well, with over 180,000 visitors—is also an important sign for the industry: auto shows with an experiential dimension attract attention from the public and are more relevant than ever in a marketing and communication strategy for a manufacturer, especially at a time when the industry is undergoing profound changes.
AI: Please tell us more about the curated collection of classic motor cars in the DECC and its significance in the context of the event?
Mesquita: Our “Classics Gallery” showcases “The World’s Greatest Motorcars,” was a unique exhibition featuring some of the most iconic model
s in automotive history, many of which are absolutely unique due to their history or illustrious owners.
Among them was the 1962 Rolls-Royce Phantom V that belonged to His Highness Sheikh Ahmed Bin Ali Al Thani, the former Emir of Qatar.
This car exemplifies the unique connection between the Geneva International Motor Show and Qatar, as it was acquired by the Emir in Geneva during the GIMS 1962.
AI: The Adventure Hub at The Outpost Al Barari seems like an exciting addition. Could you detail the off-road vehicle activations and activities that adventure enthusiasts experienced at this hub?
Mesquita: Our “Offroad Adventures” (Adventure Hub) allowed visitors to not only explore the latest off-road vehicles in environments for which they are designed but also to have a real and immersive experience.
The idea was not just to offer an exhibition but to provide a genuine adventure for everyone.
On-site test drives were organized to make this experience more interactive.
In Qatari culture and life, the desert holds a significant place.
Leisure activities such as dune bashing coexist with more traditional pursuits like falconry or henna tattoos.
Visitors to the “Offroad Adventures” also had the opportunity to stay in one of the lodges at Outpost Al Barari resort to truly feel the unique atmosphere of a night in the desert.
AI: The Future Design Forum at the National Museum of Qatar focused on exploring the future of car design. Could you provide insights into the topics and discussions that were featured during this forum?
Mesquita: Taking place in the magnificent setting of the National Museum of Qatar and organized in partnership with the Qatar Auto Museum (QAM) and Car Design News (CDN), the Future Design Forum brought together key players in the automotive world to discuss the theme of the future of automotive design.
A panel of renowned designers (Frank Stephenson, Felix Kilbertus, Young Kwang Nam, Dale Harrow, Sasha Selipanov, Daniel Darancou, and Guy Donovan Burgoyne) debated the potential new directions that automotive design could take, particularly in the luxury and supercar segments.
AI: The Performance Hub at Lusail International Circuit offered exclusive track days. How did this add to the overall experience for the participating brands and their guests?
Mesquita: Driving on a circuit is always a fascinating experience.
For novices, it was a unique opportunity to discover a track on which Formula 1 stars had raced just a few days earlier and to taste the sensations of driving at high speed.
By inviting their customers and prospects to the circuit, brands also had an exceptional opportunity to showcase the qualities and performance of their products in complete safety. There’s no doubt that access to the world-class Lusail International Circuit is one of GIMS Qatar’s unique assets.
AI: The City Playground and Parade of Excellence at Lusail Boulevard were lively and entertaining. What were some of the highlights?
Mesquita: The activities offered at our “Urban Playground” on Lusail Boulevard allowed the public to celebrate and share their passion for automobiles.
The Parade of Excellence brought together over a hundred car models, ranging from local icons like classic Toyota Land Cruisers to the latest and most exclusive super- and hypercars.
Two brands took advantage of the opportunity to unveil new models regionally for the first time.
The audience also enjoyed concerts and DJ sets organized during the evening, as well as the opportunity to participate in various activities and animations along Lusail Boulevard.
AI: How do you envision GIMS Qatar shaping the future of automotive exhibitions and the GIMS brand on the international stage?
Mesquita: GIMS Qatar and GIMS Geneva are two complementary events.
In Doha, the show is designed as a festival where automobiles are celebrated. Culture, not just automotive, is present through various outdoor activations and in the DECC on the central stage where a program of artistic activities is offered.
It serves as a significant support to entertainment.
At GIMS Qatar, the experience that visitors enjoy is a central element.
For Geneva, the situation is indeed different.
The annual frequency of the event and its exclusive location at Palexpo mean that the format is more exhibition-focused.
This is a deliberate choice on our part, aiming to foster exchanges and discussions during the event, both among professionals and with the public.
Since 1905, GIMS Geneva is the showcase for automotive innovation, where the latest advancements are presented, providing a perspective on the evolution of the industry.
The theme “Auto. Future. Now” of GIMS 2024 in Geneva will highlight both the current state of the automotive industry and its future in all its forms, without neglecting its heritage.
Since 1924, when GIMS became an international show, many significant innovations have been presented there and have become industry standards today.
Thanks to our two platforms, we are able to offer manufacturers two types of internationally significant events, capable of meeting all their expectations.
And this without deviating from the values and DNA of GIMS, characterized by hospitality, excellence, and innovation.