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MotorWorld says multiple shows are unsustainable

Locked and loaded: MotorWorld organiser Rod Lockwood says the event, to be held in November next year, will be a success.

Organisers of Sandown-based motor show confident of wiping out the competition

General News logo2 Sep 2014


THE head of Melbourne’s newest mainstream motor show to be staged in 2015 – MotorWorld – believes Australia is too small to support more than one major auto show per year, let alone in the same city, but is confident the timing of the Sandown Raceway-based event will be the secret to its success over the competition.

Speaking today at the official media launch of the MotorWorld event, organiser Rod Lockwood said even the biggest car companies can only commit to “a couple of events” each year and that Melbourne’s other major automotive highlight, the Formula One Grand Prix, already constitutes one for many brands.

According to Mr Lockwood, MotorWorld’s timing, location and comprehensive program would have greater appeal to both exhibitors and attendees, and that other events competing for the same audience would not survive in the long run.

A newly established rival event, the Australian Motoring Festival organised by the Royal Automobile Club of Victoria (RACV) and the Victorian Automobile Chamber of Commerce (VACC), is planned for March next year, but MotorWorld’s organisers said late summer is already overbooked with events and that its November slot is likely to fare better.

“The brands can only support a couple of events,” Mr Lockwood said. “Will they do two motor shows? No, they won’t. They’ve got the Grand Prix and a lot of the brands are involved.

“That’s in March and an incredible event on a global scale. Look at what’s happening in March in that autumn period of 2015 – the (Australian Open) tennis, World Cup cricket, the Grand Prix, horse racing ... there’s just so much on and people don’t have that sort of money to spend on events.

“That’s why we think the Grand Prix should be left alone in that period and the marques can support their branding through the racecars.

“We are quite deliberate about the November period because we don’t think a motor show can be viable in that March period anytime soon.”

Mr Lockwood said that established events such as Motorclassica were building strength and were another reason to avoid the end of summer for motoring enthusiast festivals.

“It becomes overcrowded as an event, let alone for the industry – they can’t support all of these events either,” he said.

“Motorclassica is a unique event – it’s a fantastic event and they do that very well. It’s highly specialised, though.

“We don’t want to go up against Motorclassica or the Grand Prix either, so we have deliberately moved it to the other end of the year when V8 Supercars have finished, where summer holidays are starting and Formula One has finished, so people are actually looking for something.”

Mr Lockwood also said the location of Sandown raceway, in the south-eastern Melbourne suburb of Springvale, was “critical” and another key element to its predicted success over the Melbourne Showground-based Australian Motoring Festival.

“We are geographically in the centre of Melbourne. We have all major road infrastructure here, a train, plus we have all that access on to the surrounding roads. This venue is absolutely perfect,” he said.

Melbourne’s famous car and horse-racing track is undergoing renovations in preparation for the event in November next year, with asphalt surfaces already relaid and modernisation of facilities.

The event has also been carefully costed to offer a more affordable option for exhibitors and attendees alike.

“We want this to be drastically cheaper than the traditional exhibition environment. Some of the big brands were previously spending a million dollars – we want this to be 30 per cent of that and offer the same space,” Mr Lockwood said.

Gate prices will be in the region of $45 dollars for a full-day ticket.

GoAuto has this week canvassed opinion from major car companies, and most agree that supporting the two new mainstream motor show events in Melbourne next year will be difficult.

Mercedes-Benz Australia/Pacific senior manager of public relations, product and corporate communications David McCarthy told GoAuto that the German luxury car brand – which has committed to Motorclassica – had limited resources for major events and was yet to make a final decision on whether to support the two new shows.

“I think the size of the Australian market makes it difficult (to hold multiple events each year),” he said.

“From our perspective, the motor shows have already been a success from a retail perspective we’ve sold quite a number of cars from them but I also accept that they haven’t been as successful for other brands.

“Now, it’s the cost that is the impediment. Plus, once you stop doing those shows, it is very easy to start spending money elsewhere on other activities.

“We actually quarantined the money that we were going to spend on motor shows and kept putting it in the budget and we continued to do a lot of other things and grew those activities, so we haven’t made a decision on either of those events.”

Mr McCarthy could confirm, however, that Motorclassica had been successful for the brand and Mercedes would again be attending the show.

“One of the reasons I think we were there (Motorclassica) last year and we’ll be there again this year is because it is a great environment for brands that have a great history behind them,” he said.

“People that are there are enthusiasts, they understand what the different brands are about, and it is a nice environment as well as a relatively short space of time.

“Staffing and everything like that is not as problematic as a motor show.

“Now, the one that’s at the showgrounds, we haven’t made a final decision on (attending) that, and we certainly haven’t made a final decision on the Sandown one either.”

Motorclassica event organiser Paul Mathers told GoAuto that newcomers to the Melbourne car show scene had their work cut out, and added that it has taken several years for Motorclassica to build an audience in Melbourne.

“Interestingly enough, all these new motor shows have acknowledged or must have acknowledged what we’ve been doing to be successful because all of them have got some classic car component in them now,” he said.

“What is interesting is where we’ve gone along and pioneered this stuff, this concept, that is now being quite successful for the event that we run, and it is being replicated in other events.

“Whether they will be able to offer the same kind of audience that we’re offering is yet to be seen. It’s taken us five years just to get the recipe just right.

Mr Mathers said he was unsure which of the shows would succeed, and added that both the manufacturers and the general public would decide their fate.

“When there are too many of them in the marketplace ultimately it is the consumers who are going to decide which one is successful in the end,” he said.

“Personally, I don’t think that they can all happen, because … manufacturers were not happy that they had to spend so much on one show that was essentially dying, so to now have two shows, or three shows, or more than that that you can choose from, it’s going to pose a really interesting problem.”

Organised by Definitive Events, MotorWorld will be held from November 25-29 and will run a similar format to the Australian Motoring Festival, with both moving away from the traditional static format of the Australian International Motor Show, which was last held in 2011.

As previously reported, MotorWorld will make use of the racetrack and a dedicated off-road course, and has sided with former Formula One world champion Alan Jones and vintage car enthusiast Warren Brown as drawcards to the event.

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