"The British International Motor Show is vital to the UK motor industry, to consumers and not least to the West Midlands economy.
Some cynics have suggested that events like this have had their day, with multi-brand retail sites and the internet now good substitutes for marketing cars. I disagree. There is not a website in existence which lets me smell the leather, look at the stance of the car or ask the question which all the Q&As in all the world won't tell me the answer to.
The British International Motor Show is a £25m business involving 20,000 people which generates a further £30m for the local economy. It generates billions in knock-on sales, and – once every two years – is the jewel in the crown of the UK motor industry.
Birmingham, at the heart of British car making, provides the perfect venue for Britain's largest consumer exhibition. Next year, which marks the SMMT's centenary, manufacturers and consumers will jointly benefit from an event which brings them together.
The 2002 British International Motor Show will appeal to the widest range of potential visitors, particularly women and families, with advertising designed to focus on the emotional feel of the car.
We are disappointed that next month's London Motor Show was shelved but the appetite for a show in 2002 will no doubt be bigger than ever.
More than 300 companies exhibited at the 2000 show, including volume carmakers and specialist niche manufacturers. Our motor show is a broad church open to those displaying the latest in-car entertainment, accessories and other related products.
Visitor attendance was down from 709,422 in 1998 to 543,371 in 2000 which was disappointing. But the tragic rail crash near Hatfield happened just before the show opened and as a result less than 17% of visitors travelled to the NEC by rail (compared with 30% in 1998).
Our new marketing partner, The Marketing Store Worldwide, has been asked to make the show appeal to a wider audience and encourage more visitors next year.
Success of a show cannot be judged on attendance figures alone. Manufacturers reported record sales leads in 2000. That's the heart of the matter and that's the business case for holding such large scale events.
Media coverage also reached record levels with unprecedented coverage on every continent across the globe. From this month there will be a wide range of promotions and teasers running until October 2002, as part of a thorough and targeted approach to attracting visitors to Birmingham.
It is easy to find dissenters who believe that Birmingham is the wrong location and that motor shows have had their day. Yes, they are expensive to put on, and yes they require commitment and effort which is only rewarded if the whole industry gets behind it. But when it works, the benefits are huge.
The British International Motor Show is owned by the industry, run by the industry and for the benefit of the industry and consumers alike. We only run it because the industry wants it."