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2011 Australian International Motor Show

Concept stunner: Mazda's Shinari - which shows the company's 'Kodo' design language - will make its Australian debut at AIMS.

1 Jul 2011


VICTORIA’S Inaugural Australian International Motor Show after three quarters of a century of the Melbourne Motor Show proved to be a success, with strong patronage from both the manufacturers and the public.

The tide of debutantes was impressive, led by important new models like the Ford Focus III, Lamborghini Aventador, Jaguar XF Series 2, Mercedes C-class Coupe, Land Rover Evoque, Skoda Yeti, Audi A6, Subaru Impreza G4, Mazda BT50 Freestyle, Holden Barina 6, Honda CR-Z, Ford Falcon LPI LPG, Bentley Continental GT Mk2, Peugeot 508 and 308 S2, Hyundai’s Velostar, Elantra, Accent and i40 wagon, and the Kia Rio.

Of particular interest was the long list of concept cars, such as the Mazda Shinari and Minagi, Toyota FT-86, Toyota Prius C and V, Hyundai Blue2 FCV Fuel Cell Vehicle, Suzuki Swift S 3DR, BMW Vision EfficientDynamics, Lexus LF-Gh, Mitsubishi PX-MiEV, and Holden Cruze hatch and Colorado ute.

*****************************************************The 2011 Australian International Motor Show in Melbourne is finally happening right now, with heaps of new and exciting debuts – as well as a couple of duds – from across the board for you to feast your eyes upon.

So no matter where you are in the world right now, you can be right there, as we bring to you each important unveiling in the sort of detail that only GoAuto can deliver right here LIVE!Australia, today Melbourne is hosting the only motor show that really matters this year, so don’t miss a single thing.

*****************************************************Held in Melbourne this year, the AIMS will showcase a variety of new models for Australia as usual, but breaks from tradition by being held in the middle of the year instead of in early March – a risky move for one of the world’s oldest motor expos. It will be interesting to see if Sydney follows suit in 2012.

Among the debutantes should be the Ford SZ Territory facelift, the LPI LPG Falcon, and possibly the Holden Cruze Hatch.

Mazda to star at born-again Melbourne show

BMW to make token motor show appearance as Mazda locks in another world debut
31 May 2011By MARTON PETTENDYMELBOURNE’S first Australian International Motor Show (AIMS) will host at least one world debut when it opens on July 1.

Mazda this week announced its stunning Shinari four-door coupe concept will be among a host of Australian debuts at the show, but GoAuto has learned it will also stage yet another global premiere at this year’s AIMS.

Australia’s biggest full-line vehicle importer will not reveal its complete AIMS rollout until next week, but we understand Mazda’s surprise world debut will preview an all-new production model – perhaps the next-generation Mazda6 or a hybrid-rotary replacement for the RX-8 sportscar.

Mazda Australia spokesman Steve Maciver said this year’s Australian International Motor Show would be one of Mazda’s biggest.

“We’ll have a number of spectacular new models and a forward-looking theme,” he said.

Mazda and Ford used last year’s AIMS in Sydney to hold world-first reveals of their all-new one-tonner utes, the BT-50 and Ranger, but so far the only Mazda confirmed for the 2011 AIMS is the Shinari, which previews the Japanese brand’s new design language.

Mazda Australia managing director Doug Dickson said the concept truly captured Kodo design and provides an insight into the future direction for Mazda.

“It is really exciting to have Shinari in Australia for the first time and to give the Australian public the opportunity to see this truly stunning vehicle up close and in the metal,” he said.

The Shinari will be one of a host of Australian debuts to appear at what will be one of the best-subscribed motor shows Down Under in recent years, with the first major Melbourne motor show in more than two years appearing to leverage its new mid-year calendar slot to good effect.

 center imageFrom top: BMW Vision EfficientDynamics, Mercedes-Benz C-class coupe, Jaguar XKR-S, Toyota Prius C, Skoda Yeti, Range Rover Evoque, Hyundai Elantra.

Although next year’s AIMS in Sydney will again be held in October, the Melbourne show’s move from its traditional March timing follows a 2009 AIMS boycott by German luxury brands that called for a single annual show alternating between Sydney and Melbourne on the basis of cost and poor post-GFC crowd attendances.

As a result, the first AIMS to be held jointly by Sydney show promoter, the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) and Melbourne show organiser the Victoria Automobile Chamber of Commerce (VACC) took place in Sydney last October.

However, it attracted a lower attendance figure (139,000) than the last Melbourne show in March 2009, when crowd numbers were down by 30 per cent to about 160,000 – well down on the pre-GFC crowds at the 2007 Sydney show (244,000) and 2008 Melbourne show (240,000).

The Melbourne show, which dates back to 1925, this year has attracted a healthy turnout of 27 brands to the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, where floor space will be 30 per cent bigger than at the 2010 AIMS in Sydney.

However, the absence of at least 15 brands means the expanded exhibition area will not be fully occupied and many brands are unhappy with a near-60 per cent price increase – from about $80 per square metre two years ago to $136.50 this year – which is more than the cost of floor space at Darling Harbour.

Well above the 10 to 15 per cent increase some car companies had budgeted for, the higher floor price puts the cost of some of the largest exhibits at more than $200,000. Including building and staffing costs, a large AIMS stand will this year cost more than of half a million dollars.

AIMS show director Russ Tyrie said floor space at Jeff’s Shed was “pretty near chockers” and that “modest” price hikes are “a reflection of CPI-type increases”.

Indeed, GoAuto understands show organisers have absorbed part of the significant price increase demanded this year by the venue.

Mercedes-Benz spokesman David McCarthy told GoAuto: “I think both organisations have run their shows to make a surplus.

“(But) I would suggest the majority of the cost increase has actually come from the venue.

“I wouldn’t sheet that home to the VACC or FCAI because they’re acutely aware that the cost of building the stand is pretty big – as big as the cost of the space.

“They obviously have to run their joint-venture to make a profit, but I don’t believe the blame for the price increase wouldn’t be with them – it would be with the venue operators.”

Notable absentees from this year’s AIMS include Renault, which said it focussed its resources on customer activities at this year’s F1 Grand Prix instead, and Chrysler Group Australia brands Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge.

“We’ve stepped back from the motor show scene in the past few years and reinvested the considerable cost in boosting other marketing strategies that reach a wider audience,” said Chrysler Group spokesman Dean Bonthorne.

Also missing will be all brands imported by Australia’s largest independent vehicle distributor, Ateco Automotive – except Maserati, which will showcase its new GranTurismo MC Stradale and GranCabrio Sport, pricing for which will be announced at the show.

Ateco no-shows include Alfa Romeo – despite the release of its Giulietta TCT-auto hatch in the third quarter – plus Fiat and Citroen, which will launch its new C4 and all-new DS4 later this year.

The 2011 AIMS will also be without Ferrari, which will not have access to a right-hand drive version of its upcoming FF, as well as fellow Ateco brands Chery, which will release its small J3 hatch in Q3, and Great Wall, which will launch a diesel-powered X240 compact SUV in Q3.

Other notable omissions will be another Chinese car-maker Geely, which had been expected to debut its new Panda city-car and EC7 sedan, and Caterham, Lotus, Mahindra, Morgan, Proton, SsangYong and Saab, which said it never intended to be at this year’s AIMS.

Saab Cars Australia chief Stephen Nicholls told GoAuto that his company decided to spend its money elsewhere. “There is only one a year now, but it is still a very expensive exercise and my view is that you either do it properly or don’t do it at all,” he said.

Most controversially, however, is the relatively miniscule 264 square-metre stand booked by BMW Australia, which will stage the local debut of the futuristic Vision EfficientDynamics plug-in hybrid supercar concept that will morph into the i8 sportscar in 2013.

The scissor-doored coupe concept will be the only vehicle on a BMW stand that will be dwarfed by all other brands except Maserati and Lamborghini, which will stage the local debut of its new Aventador LP700-4 flagship.

BMW’s return to Jeff’s Shed in 2011 – after abandoning AIMS in recent years as it joined the chorus for a single alternating annual show – represents a significant change in motor show direction for the Bavarian car-maker, which has previously staged some of the largest and most lavish exhibits both here and overseas.

Spokesman Piers Scott said BMW’s sole AIMS reveal will be announced later this week and that the decision was not based on cost, but confirmed BMW Group brands Rolls-Royce and Mini would continue to stay away.

“BMW Australia will have a stand,” he said. “It is a small stand that’s all I can say at this stage.

“We weren’t there last year just because we didn’t feel we had anything suitable to show. We’ve got something pretty special for this year’s show and we’ve got just the right amount of space to show it.

“The reason it’s not bigger is that we have something pretty exciting. The cost itself hasn’t dictated how much space we’ve taken. So it’s a return for BMW, but Mini and Rolls-Royce won’t be there.”

Mr Tyrie welcomed BMW’s return to AIMS and said the enthusiastic response from the majority of brands far outweighed the relatively small number of brands that would not be represented.

“It’s a small stand, yes. They’re taking a totally different approach,” he said.

“We’re very delighted they’re back with the show and they’re taking a very different and unique approach to represent their brand and the vision they have for motoring in the future.

“I think similarly to Sydney there will always be brands that take decisions at certain times about whether or not they will be at the show.

“But I think the very enthusiastic support we’ve got from the brands who are participating – many of whom have vastly increased their floor space and commitment to the show – augers very well for the show in a few weeks time.”

Mercedes-Benz, which was instrumental in calls for a single annual motor show, said show-goers rightly expected to see all brands represented at Australia’s premier motor show.

“They (BMW) are back at the show which is great,” said Mr McCarthy. “I would have thought a more enthusiastic presence would have been good, but that’s their call.

“We backed out of the shows initially to get one show and to concentrate our efforts elsewhere and we’re still doing that, but we’re (now) supporting the shows as we said we would.

“We said that until that happened we wouldn’t be there and a number of other manufacturers subsequently agreed with us. I think BMW was one of them.

“You’ve got to balance your costs, but punters pay their money to come to come to a motor show and it’s not unreasonable of them to expect they’re going to be able to see all the brands. I think it’s going to be a good show.”

Mercedes will headline three models at the 2011 AIMS: the second-generation CLS ‘coupe’ that will be launched just before the show, the redesigned SLK roadster and an air-freighted example of the all-new C-class coupe, both of which are due on sale here in Q3.

Two other German brands that previously walked away from AIMS – Audi and Porsche – will also return to the Melbourne show, with the Zuffenhausen brand set to debut the 911 GTS and Cayman R, and the Ingolstadt brand having confirmed the local debut of its redesigned A6.

However, GoAuto has learned Audi will also stage the local premiere of one of its ground-breaking e-Tron models – in the form of either the R8 or A3 e-Tron plug-in concepts.

Subaru hopes to stage the Australian debut of the redesigned Impreza sedan and hatch range that premiered globally in New York last November, and may also show the chassis that underpins its all-new boxer-powered sports coupe co-developed with Toyota.

Of course, the latter will be hoping to upstage Subaru with the Australian debut of its latest FT-86 II coupe concept, which will become reality at the Tokyo motor show on November 30. As we’ve reported, Toyota will also stage local debuts of its Prius C and Prius V people-movers, both of which are under consideration for Australian release.

Lexus this week confirmed the Australian debut of its LF-Gh concept, which points the way to its next-generation GS large sedan, while other luxury brands will include Bentley and Jaguar, which will premiere its MY12 XF large sedan and the piping-hot XKR-S coupe.

The Europeans will continue their show of strength via Volvo, which will host a local debut for its plug-in V60 diesel-hybrid, and Volkswagen, which will host the Australian premiere of its long-awaited Scirocco R among other new models, while Skoda will launch its all-new Yeti compact SUV and finally reveal its Fabia light segment fighter.

Range Rover’s compact five-door Evoque crossover will make its Down Under debut alongside the three-door ‘coupe’ seen at Sydney, while Peugeot will unveil its upcoming 407 replacement in the 508 sedan and wagon, plus its facelifted 308 small car and, possibly, the 3008 Hybrid4.

Of the mainstream brands, Mitsubishi will show further EV models and the next Outlander-previewing PX-MiEV crossover just weeks after announcing customer sales of its pioneering iMiEV city-car, while Nissan could focus on next year’s Leaf EV rather than its 2012 Infiniti range.

As usual Holden, like HSV, is playing its show cards close to its corporate chest, but is expected to stage the local debut of its Melbourne-designed Cruze hatch and a number of other new models, instead of revealing Australia’s 2012 Opel model line-up.

Ford will also concentrate on showroom models, led by the upcoming new-generation Falcon LPi line-up, all-new Ranger ute (in WildTrek guise as seen at Geneva), Mondeo EcoBoost and third-generation Focus range, all of which are due for release in Q3.

Of course, FPV will also be in attendance on the largest stand of the show (1650sq-m), as will Ford’s two wild Mad Max concepts, but Ford won’t use its largest and most interactive stand to reveal the facelifted Falcon due for release late this year.

Honda’s AIMS plans are yet to be revealed but could should include the long-overdue CR-Z hybrid coupe, while Hyundai is expected to stage local debuts of four upcoming new models in the Elantra small sedan, Accent light sedan, i40 mid-size wagon and compact Veloster coupe.

Isuzu Ute Australia will be present but will not reveal an all-new D-Max, while Kia will debut its upcoming Rio five-door hatch and another new model and Suzuki will exhibit the stunning three-door Swift S Concept that previews a top-shelf Swift hot-hatch due here by year’s end.

Leading a gaggle of others to show their wares in Melbourne will be Joss Developments, which will show a computer generated image of the homegrown supercar first seen in 2004, plus an evaluation version of the production car (internally codenamed JP1), a wind tunnel model and components from selected technical partners.

Also represented will be Walkinshaw Performance, the Transport Accident Commission (TAC), the Department of Business and Innovation, Safe Cars, the Australian Grand Prix Corporation and EV charging network company Better Place, which will display one of the seven all-electric Commodore concepts developed by EV Engineering.

Tickets are now on sale for the 2011 AIMS, which opens at 6pm on Friday, July 1, and closes on the evening of Sunday, July 10.

Melbourne gets show motor running

Tickets now on sale for first major Melbourne motor show in over two years
25 March 2011By MARTON PETTENDYTHE countdown to Melbourne’s inaugural Australian International Motor Show has begun three months early on the eve of the same city’s Australian Formula One Grand Prix.

Tickets for Victoria’s first major motor show in more than two years are now on sale, four weeks after the historic Melbourne International Motor Show’s traditional calendar slot at the beginning of Melbourne’s March motoring month.

The southern capital’s first motor show since March 2009 will be staged at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre over July 1-10, just nine months after the 2010 AIMS in Sydney.

Special ‘early bird’ ticket prices are now on offer via the official event website, www.motorshow.com.au, priced - until June 17 – at $38.25 for families, $17 for adults, $12.75 for concession card holders and $8.50 for children under 16, with kids under five free.

After that, tickets will cost $20 (adult), $15 (concession), $10 (children) and $45 (family). The show opens to the public after the media preview at 5.00pm on Friday, July 1.Between now and then organisers will be running competitions and giving away prizes via the event’s Twitter and Facebook web pages.

The 2011 AIMS will be staged jointly by Melbourne motor show promoter, the Victorian Automotive Chamber of Commerce (VACC), and Sydney motor show custodian, the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI), who agreed to co-stage one annual AIMS-branded show that alternates between Australia’s two largest capital cities each year.

Although an official exhibitor list is yet to be released, this year’s rejuvenated Melbourne motor show, which dates back to 1925, is expected to be one of the best subscribed in recent years, at least in terms of floor space, if not the number of brands and car enthusiasts.

Crowds at the last Melbourne motor show were down 30 per cent, with economic and weather conditions blamed for limiting attendance to 160,000 over the 11 days in 2009.

“The motor show has been a tradition and (an) iconic event in Melbourne for more than 80 years, and our last show here was warmly received by exhibitors and patrons,” said AIMS event director Russ Tyrie.

“I’m expecting that after a two-year absence, there will be strong enthusiasm for checking out the latest in automotive trends and technologies on show.

“Certainly, with the success we had in Sydney last year, it seems that the show will be substantially bigger than the last time we were in Melbourne – with a lot of exhibitors asking for more space.

“All indications from manufacturers are that there are going to be a number of exciting future models and concept cars.”

The total number of production models and concept cars at the 2011 AIMS is expected to be about 400.

Now officially confirmed to be among them are Peugeot’s upgraded 308 hatchback, coupe-cabriolet and wagon models, while the French brand is also expected to stage the local debut of its new large 508 sedan, which will replace the discontinued 407 and 607, and Subaru has already promised a significant surprise.

“I can’t think of a better way to introduce Peugeot’s new design language to the Australian public, than at Melbourne’s newly re-branded motor show,” said Peugeot Automobiles Australia national marketing manager, Richard Grant.

Melbourne’s won’t be the only born-again motor show to be held over the next 12 months. As we’ve reported, Perth’s motor show is set to resume this August after a three-year hiatus, while Brisbane’s could be revived early next year after also being cancelled since 2008.

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