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Brisbane motor show cancelled

Nowhere to go: The economic crisis is having a negative effect on motor shows around the world.

Organisers scrap Brisbane motor show as Toyota and VW join list of non-exhibitors

24 Nov 2008

By TERRY MARTIN in BRISBANE

THE 2009 Brisbane International Motor Show (BIMS) has been cancelled after Toyota and Volkswagen joined a growing list of car companies who decided not to attend the significant Queensland event.

GoAuto has learnt that Holden was also still to decide whether to exhibit, which compounded the problem for organisers who had also received cancelled bookings and knock-backs from several other crowd-pulling brands including Lexus, Mercedes-Benz and Lamborghini.

As a result, and despite the fact that Audi, Land Rover, Ford and Mitsubishi were among the marques to confirm participation, the Australian Automobile Dealers Association (Queensland) has decided to hold the event over until 2010.

It was scheduled to have opened on February 6, 2009.

“It had just gone too far,” BIMS public relations manager Chris Nixon told GoAuto. “We didn’t have Volkswagen, we didn’t have Lexus, we didn’t have Toyota – and we got to the point, really, where we believed that it was just going to be a fruitless exercise.

“We were concerned about the expectations of the public.” Mr Nixon said there had been no deadline for exhibitors so much as an “ongoing assessment of the situation”.

While the AADA (Qld) will take an unspecified financial hit as a result – which GoAuto understands will not run into the millions of dollars – Mr Nixon said the show’s significance in generating sales during the normally quiet first quarter could see the industry experience a worse-than-anticipated sales trough next year.

“It’s a big blow for the motor industry,” he said. “The Queensland motor industry relies heavily on the motor show because it’s the first motor show of the year, and it’s early in the year – it gives them a pretty solid kick-start.

“That’s normally a quiet time and they come out of February either with a significant number of sales or a significant number of leads in the case of the prestige brands. So to not have that is really a setback.

“The irony is that Brisbane has always been a strong retail market, and the Brisbane motor show has always been a strong retail event.

“In normal economic circumstances, we wouldn’t be facing this. We are also mindful of the fact that a number of car companies clearly are reassessing whether they do motor shows and, if they do them, how they do them.

“This is going to give them (AADA Qld) an opportunity to take a breather, if you like, and look at what works, look at what they (car companies) might require, and consult the exhibitors and find out what things they want at motor shows to ensure that they’re given a reason to come back.” AADA (Qld) chairman Chris Beecham said he was confident that the event, which was first staged in 1964, would return in 2010.

“We will return in 2010 with a fresh and relevant focus,” Mr Beecham said.

“Along with the economic circumstances that have caused this decision, the motor industry is clearly re-evaluating its involvement in motor shows and we will meet that challenge.

“We already had some new concepts to introduce in 2009 to attract exhibitors and show visitors and these will be included in 2010, along with other ideas developed from the feedback of car companies.” Mr Beecham also emphasised that Brisbane was not alone in losing brands to its event, pointing to the Australian International Motor Show in Sydney earlier this year and the Los Angeles auto show held last week.

The list of car companies pulling out of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit next January is also starting to grow. Last week, Mitsubishi joined Rolls-Royce, Ferrari, Land Rover and Suzuki in deciding not to attend.

Porsche has also chosen not to exhibit again in Detroit, one of the most significant motor shows on the global automotive calendar, having not had a presence in Motown since 2006.

“We appreciate the decisions of manufacturers and importers to not come to Brisbane has largely been forced upon them by budget cuts by their overseas masters,” Mr Beecham said.

“The overseas problems have come all the way down the line to the local level and we have to take responsible decisions. Without a number of key brands, the show would not have been attractive to the public, who expect to see a comprehensive line-up of what the industry has for sale.”

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