Hard-up car makers can't promise to support exhibition – so organisers pulled out.

The economic downturn has claimed another victim. This time it’s the British Motor Show.

Originally next scheduled for autumn in 2010, organisers the Society of Motor Manufacturers and traders have pulled the plug on the event because too few car makers could promise to back the event. SMMT chief executive Paul Everitt said the cancellation of what is the UK’s largest consumer exhibition was not taken lightly. ‘However, the global credit crunch has placed the automotive sector under unique pressure and has created a level of uncertainty that deters manufacturers from committing to large scale, international events,’ he said. In its 1970s heyday, the show attracted almost a million visitors.

But numbers declined to half that total.

And, while last year’s show attracted more visitors than previously, the absence of key names put its future in doubt.

Among German makes, only Mercedes-Benz and Mini showed up, while Fiat, Volvo and Aston martin also stayed away.

The SMMT plans to revive the show as early as 2011, although as head of communications Nikki Rooke told, it is possible that it could return in a very different format, offering more interactive displays and hands-on driving than at past shows.

Stephen Jury


March 19, 2009