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AIMS: Show date confusion ‘for 10 years’

AIMS: The public check out the displays at this year's Melbourne motor show.

Sydney venue refuses to budge on mid-year date for Aussie motor show

General News logo5 Jul 2011

THE Australian motor industry is facing up to a decade of motor show date confusion with the Sydney venue for the Australian International Motor Show – the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre at Darling Harbour – refusing to make the switch to the preferred mid-year date.

The annual show now rotates between Melbourne and Sydney, with Melbourne’s Convention and Exhibition Centre agreeing to the industry’s request for a July date for the current 2011 Australian show.

The joint organisers of the show, the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries and the Victorian Automobile Chamber of Commerce, want to shift the 2012 show in Sydney to the same time slot, but the Darling Harbour management apparently says it is booked out around July in 2012 and also subsequent years, so the motor show will have to stay with the traditional October date.

This means the gap between annual shows will jump from 16 months one year to eight months the next as the shows alternate between July in Melbourne and October in Sydney.

Industry sources told GoAuto that show organisers had enquired about mid-year dates at Darling Harbour years into the future – up to 10 years out – but without joy.

 center imageLeft: Show director Russ Tyrie at this year's AIMS.

Asked if the motor show was locked out of a mid-year date in Sydney for 10 years, show director Russ Tyrie told GoAuto: “Not quite 10, but we are getting close.”

Mr Tyrie said the change of date – away from the regular Melbourne date of March and October date in Sydney – reflected the industry’s desire to quarantine the Australian show away from major overseas shows in Europe and North America.

“We are very bullish about the change of dates,” he said, adding that the fact the show now coincided with the mid-year Victorian school holidays was a positive for attendances.

Mr Tyrie said the 2011 show, with about 50 new models and concepts, had attracted the biggest number of motor show “reveals” in years, even though it was only eight months since the 2011 show in Sydney.

He said he believed the show could again attract more than 200,000 visitors, regaining the attendances of its halcyon days.

On Sunday, GoAuto observed a 40-metre queue of fans four-abreast lining up for show tickets in the early afternoon.

While Mr Tyrie said he was disappointed a regular mid-year date could not be established for the show in both cities, he stopped short of criticising the Darling Harbour management, which he said had told the show organisers they had “a lot of forward bookings and conference bids”.

A check of the Darling Harbour online events calendar shows the venue hosted the Good Food and Wine Show last weekend and next weekend will hold FoodPro 2011 – a food processing industry trade exhibition.

Next year, the only exhibition listed so far for July is AWISA 2012, a woodworking and furniture trade event.

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