“There’s no doubt that all over the industry people were interested in it. But the real tragedy is that they were not prepared to commit,” says London Eventco managing director Robert Mackenzie.
“You have to conclude that the industry has been scarred by what has happened in the past with aftermarket shows at the NEC, and they didn’t have the courage to commit to a thing which they knew in their minds was what exactly was required.”
Back in January the show appeared to be storming ahead with commitments from Apec Braking, Atlas Copco Compressors, Crypton, FAI Automotive, Lucas SRE (now in receivership), Sach Boge and Visteon. Deposits will be returned to all those who had booked, says event director Richard Abels.
“I’m bitterly disappointed, both from a personal viewpoint and for the exhibitors and organisations who had fully supported AutoExcel and were looking forward to the event,” says Abels, who has resigned from AutoExcel and now plans to take a holiday. He adds that the timing of the SMMT’s joint CV and ATS show (April 5-7, 2005) had contributed to AutoExcel’s demise. “Some companies would have supported both, but many just didn’t know which way to turn,” he says.
SMMT chief executive Christopher Macgowan says he is looking forward to a successful ATS show next year.