The car industry meltdown gave the excuse, but even without it the British motor show was already looking seriously vulnerable prior to the news of its cancellation for next year.

Throughout the ExCel years the big problem has been numbers. Not of punters; both the 2006 and 2008 attracted their stated target of visitors. Rather, the problem has been a paucity of manufacturers, with a depressingly long list of major makers opting to do something else with their promotional budgets.

Even without the collapse in car sales there seemed little chance that any of the significant ‘no shows’ were going to be persuaded to come back into the fold for the 2010 event. And without them – and the possible addition of some other refusniks – the show was going to struggle to create the critical mass to get other marketing directors to sign on the multi-million pound line.