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Sydney joins growing motor show mortalities

Crowd wheezer: Organisers behind the Australian International Motor Show say the event would still draw an audience

Organisers say Australia’s motor show will live on despite another cancellation

5 Jul 2013

By BARRY PARK in SYDNEY

UPDATED: 8/07/2013AUSTRALIA’S motor show will go on despite organisers confirming today that next year’s event in Sydney won’t go ahead.

However, we may end up with something we will not recognise as a traditional car show, organisers of the failed Sydney event have revealed.

According to Australian International Motor Show event director Russ Tyrie, while the Sydney event next year would not go ahead, there was still scope to organise something else to showcase the almost 50 car brands on sale in Australia.

“We’re not proceeding with Sydney, no,” Mr Tyrie told GoAuto today.

“But that, to us, does not spell the end to it, but we’re in the middle of an immense amount of work at the moment in terms of what we’re doing and who we’re consulting with, including the industry and government stakeholders.

“Until all that plays out, it is difficult for us to make any public pronouncements.”

Instead, he said, organisers have a four-month window to make a decision on what the new format of the motor show’s replacement will look like, marking November as the crunch-time.

“I would hope over the next few months all this (discussion) will play out and we’ll be able to make a much more fulsome statement as to what our plans are,” Mr Tyrie said.

He said there was still a need to hold a motor show in Australia and not export it to an overseas venue, but did not rule out the show taking on a wider focus to include the Asia-Pacific region.

The cancellation of next year’s Sydney show follows the same course as Melbourne this year, which was abandoned in March after a number of car-makers said they would rather spend their budgets on other customer-facing activities.

The 2014 AIMS was scheduled to move to the Sydney showgrounds as the New South Wales government rebuilds the Darling Harbour precinct – a move that many car companies did not welcome, and which is certain to have been a factor in the decision to cancel.

Homebush is also the proposed venue for 2016, but this is clearly in doubt as organisers contemplate the show’s future in Australia.

“The Melbourne show still attracted just under 200,000 people in 2011 and we know from the research we’ve done directly at the show that 33 per cent of people are at the show because they’re in the market for a new vehicle," Mr Tyrie said.

“Nothing can take that away from the fact that there is definitely quality as well as quantity there.”

Mr Tyrie said he believed car-makers would get adequate notice of any future event to ensure that motor show budgets – absorbed into other brand activities after the cancellation of last year’s show – were put aside in time.

The loss of Ford Australia as a local manufacturer – the car-maker has announced it will quit Australia in 2016 – and the lack of special local show cars were not issues for organisers, he said.

“The domestic brands irrespective of whether there’s been a halo car from them have all been magnificent supporters of the show in terms of their stands and using the show as a launch pad for new product.

“I don’t believe that would result in a lesser participation from them.”

Australia last had a car show in 2012 after the format of the event was changed significantly at the urging of car-makers to consolidate separate annual shows in Sydney and Melbourne into a single show swapping cities in alternative years.

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