Page last updated at 13:29 GMT, Thursday, 19 March 2009

British 2010 motor show cancelled

The 2008 British International Motor Show
The British show is widely seen as a consumer show rather than as an industry fair

The 2010 British International motor show has been cancelled as the motor industry cuts spending.

Carmakers cannot commit to the event at a time when they face "unprecedented challenges", said Paul Everitt, chief executive of the industry body SMMT.

Car sales, and thus carmakers' profits, have plunged in recent months as consumers have struggled to get loans to buy cars.

But the London show was struggling even before the credit crunch.

For years, the show was held in Birmingham, though it moved to London in 2006 after several carmakers decided not to attend the show there and as visitor numbers tumbled.

The 2006 show was well-supported by the industry, though by 2008 some carmakers had decided to stay away from the biennial show in spite of its growing popularity with consumers.

Not the end

Graphs showing sales of luxury cars versus Ford and Vauxhall
The global credit crunch has placed the automotive sector under unique pressure
SMMT chief executive Paul Everitt

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said the decision to cancel the show had been a "difficult one".

"The global credit crunch has placed the automotive sector under unique pressure and has created a level of uncertainty that deters manufacturers from committing to large-scale, international events," said SMMT chief executive Paul Everitt.

The show's organisers stressed the cancellation would not be permanent.

"Given the great strides that the Motor Show has taken since its return to London, we fully endorse the decision to postpone [it] until market conditions will again permit us to deliver a world class event that truly showcases the UK industry," said Rob Mackenzie from International Motor Industry Events.

When the show returns it may not be in "its current form", the SMMT indicated.

Manufacturers were, however, committed to holding an event to showcase the UK car industry, SMMT spokesperson Nikki Rooke told the BBC.

Global challenge

The British motor show is not the only one to feel the pinch as carmakers reduce their marketing budgets during the recession.

In January, the important Detroit auto show saw several carmakers stay away, with others cutting back spending on lavish displays and parties.

The Tokyo show has also been warned that some automotive groups might stay away and there have already been some cancellations by carmakers ahead of the Frankfurt show in September.

Yet the British show's problems are different from those faced by some of the major industry shows.

The London show is widely seen as a consumer show and as such it will be the first to be deserted by carmakers traditionally more eager to display their products at shows that are described as industry fairs, such as Detroit, Geneva, Frankfurt and Paris.

Consequently, world premieres and important concept vehicles have been relatively few and far between at British shows in recent years, a factor that in turn has hit visitor numbers.



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