Official: 2009 Sydney motor show cancelled
Melbourne and Sydney motor show promoters strike deal to alternate from 2010
3 Feb 2009
By MARTON PETTENDY in SYDNEY
THE organisers of Australia’s two largest motor shows today announced a deal to alternate the Australian International Motor Show (AIMS) annually between Sydney and Melbourne from 2010, officially putting an end to this year’s Sydney event.
The new 50/50 joint-venture between Sydney show promoter, the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI), and Melbourne show promoter, the Victorian Automobile Chamber of Commerce (VACC), was forecast by GoAuto last October after poor attendance at the 2008 AIMS in Sydney, which was boycotted by a number of high-profile vehicle brands as they lobbied for a single annual international-standard auto show.
The first event to be held under the joint-venture agreement will be the 2010 AIMS in Sydney, making this month’s 2009 AIMS in Melbourne the only motor show to be held in Australia this year.
While the 75th Melbourne show, which opens on February 27, is billed as the last “solo” show, it is also likely to be Australia’s last international-standard motor show for more than 18 months.
GoAuto has learned that while the FCAI’s preference is for it to be brought forward to a mid-year date, it remains locked in at the Darling Harbour Convention and Exhibition Centre in October 2010.
FCAI chief executive Andrew McKellar said the first joint-venture show would be held in Sydney next year.
“At this stage the date for that will be October 7-17,” he said.
Left: FCAI chief executive Andrew McKellar.
“There is a general view in the industry that a move to somewhere toward the middle of the year for the timing of the show would be preferred. But there are certain logistical difficulties in securing availability of the (convention centre) venue at that time.
“At this point we do have an existing booking for those dates in October, so unless there is any change on that front those will be the dates for the first joint-venture show.” Mr McKellar said that rather than attract criticism for creating too big a gap between the nation’s major motor shows, the hiatus would be welcomed by the automotive industry in a sales year that is expected to be significantly slower.
“Obviously there’s significant commercial pressure there at the moment,” he said.
“This gives us some breathing space before the next event and allows us to undertake comprehensive planning and development for that next event.
“That’s what we have as confirmed booking. I think it would be very difficult, given all the constraints, to change that overnight.
“There is a desire to work towards that objective, but what we’ve done here is take an important first step. There was a clear consensus within the industry that we needed to move to a more sustainable model and we have taken the bit between the teeth and we have achieved that outcome. I think that’s a significant step forward for the industry.
“The two organisations – the FCAI and VACC – have heard what the industry was saying and we’ve responded accordingly. I think it will deliver a far better quality outcome for the industry overall.” Mr McKellar said the delay in announcing the joint-venture show deal was not due to an attempt to secure an earlier Sydney show date in 2010 before the announcement.
“No, not at all. We’ve been having those discussions with the venue separately,” he said.
“We’ve been close to agreement for some time, but as with all these things it’s a complex process and we had to get it right.
“There’s been goodwill on both sides and really it was just a matter of nutting out the detail in the agreement. That’s been achieved and what we’ve now got is a good outcome that’s in the interest of the industry.” Mr McKellar said he did not expect a negative reaction to the announcement from the NSW government or Sydneysiders.
“I don’t think so. We’ve sought to keep all the stakeholders in Sydney and in the NSW government informed as to what’s going on, and equally in Victoria.
“At the end of the day what we had to do was put the interests of the industry first.
A more sustainable model had to be found, so we went forward with that objective.
“The general feedback I’ve had from all stakeholders is very understanding and very positive – I think they know it is better that we get a sustainable model in place.
“The new relationship will allow a new direction while maintaining the tradition and heritage of the motor shows in the two capital cities.
“We are already making plans for Sydney in 2010 and are confident that under the new agreement, it will be an exciting and well-supported show.
“The new model is viable and sustainable and takes into account the views of the many vehicle brands who considered the proliferation of motor shows in Australia as being too costly.” VACC executive director David Purchase echoed the FCAI’s support for the deal.
“This is a significant and important step forward for the future of motor shows in Sydney and Melbourne and establishes a strong relationship between the FCAI and VACC, which no doubt will be of benefit to the broader Australian automotive industry,” he said.
“A detailed agreement between the two organisations has been reached and will be formally executed shortly.
“The intention is to have the new events registered as the Australian International Motor Show. This will enhance the stature of the motor shows and assist in attracting participation from overseas.”
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