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Motorclassica eyeing overseas expansion

Motoring on: After seven years in Melbourne, Motorclassica could expand to another city in Asia in the future.

More state-based Motorclassica events unlikely but move overseas on the cards

18 Oct 2016

By TIM NICHOLSON

MOTORCLASSICA Melbourne organisers are looking at expanding the event beyond Australian borders, but a shift interstate seems unlikely.

The classic car show that includes Australia’s own Concours d’Elegance, as well as historically significant car manufacturers showing off their latest production models or concepts, is now in its seventh year, and organisers are looking to spread the successful formula internationally.

Speaking with GoAuto earlier this week, Motorclassica event director Paul Mathers said he would like to take the show overseas, but it was about pinpointing the most appropriate market.

“I think we would like to find a market somewhere in Asia, which is where there is a need and where there is a genuine desire and support for it, before we take it there,” he said. “It is fair to say Motorclassica has the highest profile of a Concours d’Elegance event in Asia, and there are a number of them, Arab world included.

“We have a great brand to be able to take that over there. It is just a case of finding the right market, the right place that can draw a catchment area to find cars. We don’t want to be paying hundreds of thousands of dollars for people to bring cars into another country – we want there to be a catchment area of people that would take their cars to a centralised event.” Mr Mathers said there was “no secret” that the organisers want to grow the business as part of an overall strategic plan, but he acknowledged that it would be unwise to enter a new market before they were ready.

“The wrong thing to do would be to bullishly go into a market and say ‘hey we are here,’ and be rejected, that’s not good for our brand. We need to be certain of a certain level of success before we can go doing that, before we start managing something somewhere else.” While international markets are definitely on the cards, Mr Mathers said a possible expansion interstate is unlikely, given the lack of suitable venues in other Australian capital cities.

“There have been approaches from other states to bring Motorclassica to them. So much of the character of Motorclassica is the old Royal Exhibition Building. It is an international point of difference and the reason we get photographed in international magazines is because it looks so beautiful and I don’t think there is any other state that can offer that sort of building.

“We couldn’t really do it without losing a lot of the personality of the event and I don’t think we are prepared to do that.” Mr Mathers said the recognition and awareness of the Motorclassica brand was still growing but acknowledged that it was difficult to connect with people that do not engage with media.

“I think there is still more work to be done. We are getting there. We are a lot further ahead than we were three or four years ago. It is only year seven and it is a show in its infancy. I couldn’t say it’s mature yet, it is a young adult at best,” he said.

“I am surprised sometimes at people who say they haven’t heard of Motorclassica. They don’t consume any of the media that we put out there, so how do you connect with those people? I don’t know but we are getting there. Word of mouth is important to us – car clubs are very important, the motoring press is important.” Following the demise of the Australian motor show in 2013, several attempts have been made to start automotive events, the latest being MotorWorld Sydney, which will be held in early December.

Mr Mathers said he has enormous amounts of respect for the organisers of MotorWorld Sydney, but highlighted some of the challenges and requirements of putting on a successful event.

“You have got to ask why you do these events. Do you do it because there is a legitimate need for them or do you do it because you think there is, there is a perceived need or gap in the market.

“I think it has to come from a need and I think what we stumbled across really – I think it was an accident we stumbled across the fact that there was a need. Nobody thought we could do it with Motorclassica, they thought it would fail but ultimately people came to it and people were engaged and then they came back and came back again.

“Because there is something that it fulfils in them that they didn’t have before. The question about any other event, MotorWorld Sydney included, is, is it going to fulfil a need, a desire, that isn’t already being met some other way and that will determine its success or failure I think. If it works there has been something missing. I wish them luck.”

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