Volkswagen has thrown into doubt the validity of the London motor show as a manufacturers' showcase by announcing it will not be attending the Earls Court event next year.
The company says it will instead concentrate on the biennial show at Birmingham, organised by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.
A VW spokesman praised the recent Birmingham event for both its size and the number of people who attended - put at more than 600,000.
He said: "We are not worried about not having a UK showcase for our vehicles in 2001. New Passat is coming out in the UK in January and that was show with great success at Birmingham.
"As far as I'm aware we will not be any other VW launches next year.
"This decision is part of our added value scheme where we reassess how we promote the brand. VW pulled out of sponsorship a few years ago and we've had record sales for the past four years."
An SMMT spokesman said that, while there were no official attendance figures for the Birmingham show, attending manufucturers were understood to have enjoyed record orders for new cars.
On whether VW's decision will act as a catalyst to other manufacturers, he said: "Manufacturers make decisions on what show to attend on a commercial basis. "75% of the exhibition space at Earls Court has already been booked for next year's show."