The next London motor show could be scrapped, say sources close to the organisers.
July’s British International Motor Show was only the second to be held at the ExCel centre in Docklands, but there is mounting pressure to cancel the next one, which would be held in 2010.
The diminishing marketing budgets of many major car manufacturers - a result of the financial slump - is the biggest obstacle to the 2010 event.
“It is obvious in difficult times that all sorts of options will be considered and we are going into a very difficult period," said SMMT chief executive Paul Everitt.
A further problem is a potential scheduling clash with the Olympics in four years time. Sporting events will be held in the Excel centre from 27 July to 12 August 2012 – the same two weeks as this year's motor show.
Optimists at the Society on Motor Manufacturers and Traders –which sponsors the show - have suggested moving it forward to 2009. But more wary SMMT members want to avoid clashing with the Olympics by slipping a year to 2011.
"We have a reservation for ExCeL in May 2010 but nothing is signed,” said Everitt.
Moving the show to 2011 would have the additional advantage of putting 15 months between the London and Paris shows rather than this year's gap of three months. The two shows had been held a year apart until recently, to avoid competing against each other for exhibitors’ tightening budgets.
Attendance at this year’s London show was up 14 per cent compared with the debut event at ExCeL in 2006.