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Exclusive: Alternative local motor show mooted

The way forward?: The Victorian Automobile Chamber of Commerce is working on pitching a new model for the Australian motor show.

Organisers planning a simultaneous auto convention to revive the Aussie motor show

General News logo19 Apr 2013

PROMOTERS of the cancelled 2013 Australian International Motor Show in Melbourne are planning a bigger, better event for coming years that would be linked to the South East Asian region and more closely aligned to the local industry.

And they would consider moving the show back to its traditional Automotive Week date in March to coincide with Victoria’s Automotive Week and the Australian Grand Prix.

That is according to executive director of the Victorian Automobile Chamber of Commerce, David Purchase.

If the current thinking bears fruit, the traditional display of current models would be backed up by “a major international automotive conference” and would have a significant trade-based element with delegations visiting from countries in the region.

“It will have a bigger international reputation and it will have a lot of other events hanging off it,” Mr Purchase said in an exclusive interview with GoAuto.

Planning is at an early stage and there are several aspects that needed firming up, he said.

“We hope we would have much greater involvement and participation from Asia, which is obviously where we are geographically located.

“We are not putting the cart before the horse. We know there are various people and groups to convince, but we are not sitting on our hands and sulking that the 2013 show did not go on,” Mr Purchase said.

The VACC and its motor show partner, the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries, cancelled the Australian International Motor Show scheduled for 2013 in Melbourne only two years after agreeing to alternate motor shows between Melbourne and Sydney.

Mr Purchase said any new motor show – he stressed planning was in the early stages – would be designed as a major event so that it increased its economic contribution to the state where it was held.

 center imageLeft: Executive director of the Victorian Automobile Chamber of Commerce David Purchase.

And he believed this would attract the support of state governments.

“Overall, if you look at visitors, and what’s sold, the Melbourne motor show was probably worth $25 million to the state.

“If we have a major show, an international conference, trade delegations coming down, we’ll be aiming for an event worth $50 million to the State.”

Mr Purchase said the motor show had been proudly independent of government assistance up to now, but he suggested that might need to change if the bigger, better format were to happen.

In particular, he said that the promoters might approach the state government about the rents charged by the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre.

“If it’s worth $50 million, then I don’t think it’s unreasonable for us to say to the government look, how about reducing your venue costs or discounting them because this is a major event.

“There are a lot of events the government sponsors. They spend a lot of money on events. The Motor Show has not had one dollar from the government.

“We’ve never asked them for a dollar but, in the future, we might be putting our hand up, just as other events have been doing for may many years.

“Look at what the government invests in the Grand Prix. We get more people to the Motor Show than they get to the Grand Prix and we’ve never had a dollar.”

He said the date of a show in Melbourne was another aspect under consideration. The cancelled show was scheduled to happen in late June, three months later than the traditional date in March for the Melbourne show.

“Well, that’s another thing we will have to look at. We will have to look at timing again. “He agreed that the Grand Prix would act as a magnet for any people thinking of coming to an automotive convention from overseas.

“It may be, and I only say may, it may be we need to move to align ourselves more with the Grand Prix. I say may because that is the sort of thing we are looking at.”

That would bring the Melbourne show back into Victoria’s Automotive Week, and Mr Purchase was confident the enlarged Motor Show would greatly enhance Automotive Week in Victoria.

“If you think that was an Automotive Week, wait till you see our new Automotive Week.”

Mr Purchase stressed that planning was still in the early stages and that there were still many people to talk to, most notably the car manufacturers and importers.

“Someone’s got to bounce the ball (to restart the game) and we are bouncing the ball with the FCAI.

“As I said, we are not putting the cart before the horse. We know we have to go and talk to the manufacturers and importers and so on because, without them, we don’t have their products. We know all of that.

“So this will be bigger and better and it will be the future of Motor Shows in this country. We’re already talking to the State Government, and they are right behind us.

“ We’ll obviously have to have discussions with NSW, but certainly we have had a discussion with Victoria Government first because we’re down here and we’ve been able to get to them more quickly.

“But they are right behind us and I expect the NSW will also be right behind us as well.”

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