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Alternating Australian Motor Shows?

In Motoring News

By system on Sunday, 03 August 2008

The organisers of the Sydney and Melbourne motor shows are looking at alternating their shows after growing complaints from carmakers about the cost of attending two shows a year.

The Sydney and Melbourne motor shows are likely to be held on alternating years from 2009, with organisers of both events poised to give in to carmakers’ demands to have just one major car show a year in Australia.

The push for a single show has been gathering momentum since a number of leading luxury brands withdrew from this year’s Sydney motor show in protest at the escalating cost of attending two shows a year.

With a stand at either show costing exhibitors anything up to $1 million, a number of carmakers believe the money could be better spent elsewhere.

This year’s Melbourne show was missing a dozen brands, while October’s Sydney motor show has already lost key exhibitors including BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Porsche, Jaguar, Land Rover, Alfa Romeo, Citroen, Fiat and Bentley.

Ford boss Bill Osborne also reportedly weighed into the debate at a recent FCAI meeting, telling organisers Ford would rather the single event each year.

The Melbourne and Sydney shows are run by different organisations – Sydney by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries and Melbourne by the Victorian Automobile Chamber of Commerce – and both have been reluctant to talk about alternating shows.

The chief executive of the FCAI, Andrew McKellar, refused to discuss specifics of a deal but confirmed a solution to the problem was being sought.

“I think what we have to do is ensure that we have a sustainable model in terms of the number and frequency of motor shows. We currently have five motor shows around Australia each year and that is a major logistical and cost challenge for everybody in the market,” he says.

“Clearly there are some brands who believe the current schedule is too onerous and that it involves excessive costs for the industry,” he says.

He stated though the upcoming Sydney motor show will definitely go ahead.

There is a precedent for alternating shows. The two leading European motor shows, Paris and Frankfurt, alternate years, while the Tokyo motor show is held once every two years.