The Barcelona motor show celebrated its 90th anniversary this year, but it almost didn’t happen.
Until two months ago the show shared the same fate as next year’s London motor show – cancelled, amid a lack of interest from manufacturers desperate to tighten their belts as car sales went into freefall.
That it was saved is a tale in itself. The government stepped in, heavily subsidising stand space with tax payer’s money in order to ensure the show went ahead. You can’t see that happening for the London motor show, somehow.
Manufacturers responded in their droves – with some putting the money they saved into large, grand stands, and others adding to the event’s kudos by just being there.
Local giants Seat led the way, building their own stand and providing the bulk of interest with four launches of new variants, the Ibiza Bocanegra, Ibiza FR, Ibiza 25th Anniversary Edition and the Leon Cupra.
Beyond that you had to look to the minnows for new car excitement. Ssangyong showed its C200 Aero and Eco concept cars, which had been seen before at the Seoul motor show, but which looked well built and modern. Dacia, meanwhile, unveiled the Sandero Stepway, a new model to Europe, but one that is on sale in Brazil.
Otherwise, showgoers had to be content with seeing concept cars and new cars that had previously been shown elsewhere – the new Range Rover, Range Rover Sport, and Land Rover Discovery led the way, followed by the likes of the VW Polo, Skoda Yeti, Mitsubishi i-Miev Sport Air and Renault ZE Concept. Audi even wheeled out its Cross Coupe Concept, a concept car now several years old.