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Industry-only day ends at London motor show

Organisers of this summer’s British International Motor Show have dropped the industry/trade-only day and combined it with a premium-charge VIP day.

The decision is part of a series of initiatives designed to raise total attendance at the London ExCel show to 550,000, which would be 26% higher than 2006’s 415,000. The ambition is to establish the event as one of the world’s top three motor shows.

Press day at the London show is Tuesday, July 22, followed by ‘VIP preview day’, scheduled to attract 10,000 visitors. Industry visitors will pay £15, other people £25.

From Thursday, July 24, to Sunday, August 3, adults will pay £10, frozen at the 2006 level. There will be no discount for buying in advance, though organisers say there will be incentives.

Rob Mackenzie, MD of Imie, which stages the show for the SMMT, says: “The 2006 show halted the decline in attendances experienced at the Birmingham NEC.

“Our target of 550,000 compares with the real figure at the Geneva show. Attendance figures there include stand staff and others entering the show each day.

“We will have many global debuts this summer to attract overseas press – that is the formula to raise the status of the UK show.”

But BMW, which in 2006 staged its own show outside the main halls, is not expected to return, although Mini will have a stand. Audi, Volkswagen and Porsche are also expected to be missing.

Mackenzie says the ‘ultimate collection’, a new feature, has pulled Ferrari back to the show.

Twenty-five of the world’s most exclusive and expensive new cars will be displayed “art-gallery style” in a by-invitation only area above the main halls.

“London has more super-rich people than any other capital city,” says Mackenzie. “A specialist agency will draw up a list of people to invite and manage the area but the manufacturers must also exhibit at the show so everyone can see the cars.”

Heritage cars will have their own open area and an Electric Vehicle Village will showcase CO2-limiting technology.

Dock Rock has been renamed the Motor Show Music Festival, with Status Quo and Deep Purple among the bands booked.

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