London show gets mixed reaction
27 July 2006

We asked you for your views on the first British motor show in London for 30 years – and you haven’t pulled any punches.

The show at ExCeL closes its doors this weekend, having moved from its traditional base at the NEC in Birmingham with hopes for a greater success (both in the UK and abroad), more visitors, improved interactivity and high-profile launches.

So will the motor show return to the capital next time? That all depends on what you, the Great British Public, thought of it. From our forums, it seems the London show got a mixed reaction. Here’s what you said:

“The test drives were a brilliant idea, just a shame more manufacturers didn't offer them. The manufacturers who showed up made a very good effort. Good layout, though I don't know how well it would work if more makers showed up. But I like having a smallish area to walk around, unlike the marathon that is the NEC. In conclusion, I'd go again ...”Propellorhead

“Such a show has no place in an urban environment that it is difficult for car drivers to get to. Linking up with one of the top racing circuits would provide a new experience. These places usually can cope with a lot of parking. London is the wrong venue. It’s such a drudge getting there.”Porcorosso

“I'm happy to support the show, but if it's the same again I won't turn up. I think there may be a sort of chicken-and-egg situation going on here: more manufacturers attending with better stands or increased visitor numbers, one will increase first and then the other will increase as a result. I hope it's the former in 2008. It’s not a proper show without a Ferrari stand, let alone an Audi stand.”Tom

“The venue’s okay - it's a big open space and some there’s dockside space for outdoor activities. Actually the venue is about 1,000,000,000 times better than I remember the NEC being.”Big Blue

“My verdict? Weak. Smaller than the NEC by a considerable margin, and seriously lacking in the big-namers. The UK is the Audi TT's biggest market, so why not show the new one here? It’s just foolish!”Tim Oldland

“I went yesterday and thought it was great! £8 to get in (which isn't much - it costs roughly twice that to get into London Zoo).All in all it was good value; plenty of metal and I'll definitely go again even if it's in exactly the same format.”J-P

Here at Autocar, we were pleasantly surprised. Getting there (almost invariably by public transport) wasn’t the bind we feared it might be, even for those living outside London, and we liked the fact that the show felt manageable. There was enough to keep you interested without leaving you feeling like you’d walked the Great Wall of China. So maybe the British motor show is a bit like the weather: we like to talk about it an awful lot, and whether it rains or shines we’re never satisfied. 

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