29 March 2004

The organisers of this year’s British Motor Show say they are ‘close’ to getting every major manufacturer signed up. Although not every brand will have a stand – Alfa Romeo has pulled out already – the plan is to have cars from every marque represented at the NEC in May.

Bosses admit that it’s make or break for the UK’s only international car show. It has moved from its traditional October slot and is being completely overhauled with the emphasis on visitor participation.

Numbers attending the Birmingham show have dropped from around 700,000 in 1998, to 550,000 in 2000 and 485,000 two years ago. It remains Britain’s best-attended consumer show, but is now only just ahead of the Ideal Homes Show. ‘If we get more visitors than the 550,000 in 2000, then it will have been a success,’ said a spokesman.

However, organisers are bullish about the event’s prospects. It has already sold 19,000 advance tickets – more than double at this stage in ’02 – and the production debut of the Renault Modus means there’ll be at least one premiere. New events this year include the Motropolis ‘car theatre’, passenger rides around a 4x4 course, ‘taster’ test drives from 10 manufacturers, and driving lessons for 14 to 17 year-olds.

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The Motor Show runs over half-term week from 27 May to 6 June. Advance adult tickets cost from £13 and are available at www.motorshowlive.com.

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