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British motor show to move from the NEC?

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders could move the British International Motor Show to a new venue if current home the Birmingham NEC doesn’t deliver enough glitz and glamour to the biennial event.

Negotiations between the SMMT and NEC for the 2006 show are in progress, but the SMMT does not rule out looking at alternative venues across the country. Research with consumers into this year’s Motor Show Live revealed widespread dissatisfaction with the high parking fees charged by the NEC.

The traditional rolling programme, where the SMMT has several motor shows booked in advance with the NEC, no longer exists, which would allow a change to another venue if the SMMT thought it more appropriate. AM also understands two different events organisers have contacted the society with a view to running the show under licence.

“Nothing is decided at the moment. We’re continuing to have constructive dialogue with the NEC,” says an SMMT spokesman. “There may be a time when the NEC cannot offer value – we need to test the marketplace and so it’s possible we could be looking at venues other than the NEC. However, we do have a good partnership arrangement with the NEC.”

The 2004 motor show adopted a more interactive theme which was well received by visitors, but attendance expectations were not met. “We need to ensure the 2006 Show offers visitor volumes and value for money for exhibitors and suppliers – it needs to be more than cars on carpets,” the spokesman adds.

While the SMMT would not comment on potential alternative venues, London’s ExCeL in Docklands is likely to be one option, despite its recent problems with the cancelled AutoExcel aftermarket event.

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