Canary Wharf Motorexpo set to replace Excel show
17 June 2009

A massively expanded version of the Canary Wharf Motorexpo is looking increasingly likely to replace the cancelled 2010 British motor show as the UK’s major car exhibition.

Canary Wharf has agreed to release more space for the London Docklands show next year. There’s expected to be room for over 200 cars, compared with about 120 at last week’s event, according to show organiser Graeme Carver.

He said: “Canary Wharf is very, very enthusiastic about growing the show. We’re already talking to around two-thirds of the UK’s car companies about next year.”

Discussions to make Motorexpo a joint event with motor industry body SMMT have also taken place. The show could be extended from its one-week slot to include a second weekend.

There are plans to give next year’s event the significant extra element of a Davos-style automotive summit in a hi-tech media auditorium located in Canary Wharf. Under a plan discussed with the SMMT, the 250-seat auditorium would be the centrepiece for major automotive news announcements, policy initiatives and debates about the future of the car industry and motoring.

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One of the appeals of the Motorexpo to car makers is its relatively low cost, estimated at a tenth of the cost of attending a full-on motor show at London’s Excel centre. The 2010 British International Motor Show at Excel was canned earlier this year because of its high cost.

But the big challenges are to get major names such as Audi, BMW and VW, who missed the show in 2008, to attend, and to persuade value brands such as Kia and Hyundai that the glittering location will attract potential buyers.

Julian Rendell

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