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Brisbane motor show canned

No show: Brisbane's motor show is dead and buried for 2010, due to lack of exhibitor support.

Organisers “gutted” as lack of car company support skittles 2010 Brisbane car show

General News logo26 Apr 2010

THE 2010 Brisbane motor show has been cancelled, leaving Australia with just one major motor show this year, the industry-backed Australian International Motor Show (AIMS) in Sydney in October.

Brisbane show organiser Expertise Events admitted defeat on Friday, blaming lack of support from car-makers and Queensland car dealers for the failure of the show that was to have been held over five days in June after being cancelled last year and then postponed from its original 2010 slot in February.

“There is just not enough content to stage a show that meets the public expectations,” Expertise Events said in a statement posted on the official The Motor Show website.

Sydney-based Expertise Events managing director Gary Fitz-Roy said he and his team had been “gutted” by having to cancel the show.

“However, we know deep down it is the only decision to make,” he said.

It is not yet clear if the owner of the event, the Motor Trades Association Queensland, will make another attempt to resurrect it in 2011 in the face of motor industry commitment to stage just one large show in Australia each year, alternating between Sydney and Melbourne.

The show at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre was to have marked the public introduction of two important Hyundai models, the mid-sized Sonata replacement, the i45, and the i20 light car, both of which are set to be launched on the market in mid year.

 center imageLeft: The Brisbane motor show logo. Below:Hyundai i20.

Mr Fitz-Roy named Hyundai as one of the car companies that had stood by the show, along with Holden, Ford, Land Rover, Kia, Isuzu, Peugeot, Great Wall, Proton and Lotus.

Hyundai Motor Co Australia spokesman Ben Hershman told GoAuto that regardless of the fate of the Brisbane show, Hyundai was looking forward to an exciting launch for the i45 and i20 in Australia.

Among the notable no-shows for Brisbane were market leader Toyota and leading importer Mazda, as well as a raft of prestige car brands such as BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Audi and Lexus.

The lack of top-end excitement machines with public pulling power put the final nail in the Brisbane show coffin, although Mr Fitz-Roy said it would have been unfair to proceed “without having the majority of mainstream players”.

“We were promised by major dealers that the brands would be represented,” he said.

“However, in the last three months and each week, there has been a delay or a new excuse.

“Cancelling this event is a huge commercial burden. However, what we are most concerned about is how this reflects on the perception that the industry has let down Queensland motor enthusiasts, and that is what we are most concerned about.”

Mr Fitz-Roy said Expertise Events – Australia’s largest private-owned exhibition and events group – had spent $250,000 and “countless hours of staff resources” on planning the Brisbane show.

“But we believe that hard as the decision (to cancel) is, it is better to lose that money than to do a ‘half-cocked job’.”

Mr Fitz-Roy, whose company was appointed by the MTA last year to resurrect the event in 2010, said the date had been switched from the traditional February slot to June at the request of the industry.

Exhibition space fees had been slashed by introducing a walk-on stand package that saved hundreds of thousands of dollars in stand building costs.

As well, the show had been cut from 10 days to five, and a “comprehensive entertainment program that no other show in the country has even contemplated” had been planned.

“This event was about the cars, entertainment and the public,” Mr Fitz-Roy said.

“When the industry approached us, it was on the premise that they wanted this event, as the Brisbane motor show on all levels has been acknowledged as the best show to sell cars.

“Whilst a number of dealers and manufacturers have been promising support, they have not exchanged contracts and not locked in.

“We have a responsibility to the public to deliver the content expected or cancel the show.”

Last year, the Brisbane show was cancelled along with all other state-based shows when the motor industry – hit by the global financial crisis – elected to support just one Australian show each year to save money. In 2009, it was the Melbourne International Motor Show.

A deal to share the Australian International Motor Show between Sydney and Melbourne year-about was brokered between the Sydney show organiser – the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) and Melbourne show organiser, the Victorian Automobile Chamber of Commerce (VACC).

This year’s AIMS will be held at Sydney Exhibition Centre at Darling Harbour on October 14-24, with the 2011 event heading back to Melbourne Exhibition Centre on a date to be confirmed.

The decision by the MTA Queensland to resurrect the Brisbane show was all about car sales, as the event traditionally has been one of the top retail shows on the Australia circuit, with dealer salesmen manning the stands, ready to take orders on the spot.

The delay from February to June was to allow car companies and major dealers more time to get organised to take a stand at the show, although that time slot might have been problematic in future as AIMS organisers are said to be considering a shift to a mid-year date – splitting the difference between the traditional March date of Melbourne and October slot of Sydney.

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