The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has confirmed that the British International Motor Show will not return in 2012.
The SMMT’s announcement follows a thorough consultation with the UK motor industry, which cancelled the 2010 event in light of hardship brought about by the recession.
Despite increased attendance at the 2008 British International Motor Show, which drew 472,000 visitors and around 60 brands to London’s Excel, economic downturn and subsequent challenges facing the industry in both the UK and abroad made it impossible for the industry to commit to a 2010 event.
At the time the organiser claimed that the show could return in 2012.
“The British International Motor Show has been a tremendously successful showcase for the UK motor industry, “said SMMT chief executive Paul Everitt. “In recent years the show has played a less important role in influencing new car buyers, and vehicle manufacturers are focusing their limited resources on events and activities that have a more direct impact on brand awareness and consumer decisions.”
Unsurprisingly, the finger of blame for the show’s collapse has been levelled at the recession, which had a far-reaching and severe impact on international motor shows around the world. Only premium shows such as the Paris, Geneva, Frankfurt and Detroit motor shows, supported heavily by the largest auto brands and associations, emerged relatively unscathed.
“The SMMT’s announcement is the final nail in the coffin,” associate editor of Car magazine Tim Pollard told Exhibition News. “It’s very sad news for the UK’s car enthusiasts – such as us – as the show has been running in the UK since 1903.
“That said, we can’t say we’re very surprised. When the 2010 show was cancelled, there was immediate discussion about whether or not it would return at all. The recession had a huge impact on both the show and the UK car market and, instead of a motor show, manufacturers began looking at new and inventive ways of engaging their customers.”
The show took place at Birmingham’s NEC from 1978 to 2004 before moving to Excel in 2006.