25 May 2004

Brit motor Show organisers have received a blow just days before the show opens its doors at the NEC. The people behind the Paris event – the world’s most visited motor show – have dismissed both the Brit switch to a more interactive event and any chances of the UK hosting a show with worldwide importance.

Thierry Hesse, boss of the Salon De L’Automobile said ‘I’m not sure changing the show is all good. It’s good for the public but maybe not so good for Britain – not so good if the show wants to compete with the big five’.

The Paris Motor Show topped the attendance charts with 1.45m visitors in 2002, 27,000 ahead of Tokyo. Next were Frankfurt, Detroit and Geneva with between 996k and 730k; the 2002 British show attracted less than half a million visitors.

Hesse said the NEC show could grow to challenge the best in terms of visitor numbers – maybe even up to 2m visitors in the future – but that it would still not command the same manufacturer respect as the big-five events. ‘There are two types of show. Some are the great international ones chosen by manufacturers to exhibit new models,’ he said, ‘but there is a place for an important show for the public. Maybe that is why the British event has changed.’

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Paris will claim around 60 world debuts when the show kicks off on 25 September. Attractions include an outdoor off-road course (right) with a huge ramp offering a view of the Eiffel Tower from the top.

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