London Motor Show organisers trying to attract carmakers to a new-look event have failed to gain the support of UK No1 seller Ford.
Mercedes-Benz and Chrysler Jeep have also decided not to be at Earls Court in October. Smart was this week “considering options”.
London show organisers are offering manufacturers a 'parking slot' in one of 10 showcases dedicated to the main model sectors, from city cars to 4x4s. The cost will be around £10,000 a car, offering a big saving over traditional stands which have been scrapped for this year.
So far, only Vauxhall has committed to the new format.
Clarion Events, which stages the London show, was forced to devise a new approach when a string of manufacturers pulled out.
A Ford of Britain spokesman said: “We have been involved in the development of the show with Clarion but have decided not to attend. It is a decision for this year – at the moment we have to consider costs carefully but remain a supporter of a London Motor Show.”
Ford has confirmed Fiesta will be seen at the Scottish Motor Show in November and this is likely to mark its UK debut. Earls Court organisers, insisting the London show goes ahead, will not be able to source Fiesta from outside Ford because sales do not start anywhere in Europe until 2002.