Not quite all for one yet

It’s show­time as usual, but the dif­fi­cult move to­wards a sin­gle event is pro­gress­ing, writes PAUL GOVER

Herald Sun - Motoring - - News -

THE push for a sin­gle Aus­tralian mo­tor show and a fall in at­ten­dance in Syd­ney last month will not af­fect the run­ning of the 2009 Mel­bourne In­ter­na­tional Mo­tor Show.

The Vic­to­rian Au­to­mo­bile Cham­ber of Com­merce says it is push­ing ahead as usual and hopes to have a full line-up of lux­ury car­mak­ers de­spite the boy­cott by pres­tige brands that con­trib­uted to a lack­lus­tre re­sult in Syd­ney.

‘‘We will def­i­nitely have a show in March. It’s pro­gress­ing on sched­ule,’’ Mel­bourne show boss Russ Tyrie says.

Talks be­tween the Syd­ney and Mel­bourne show teams are con­tin­u­ing, but there is no easy so­lu­tion to the need for a sin­gle show. And there are sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­ences be­tween the VACC and the Fed­eral Cham­ber of Au­to­mo­tive In­dus­tries, which is re­spon­si­ble for Syd­ney.

‘‘The in­ten­tion is to de­velop a sus­tain­able model, what­ever form that might take,’’ Tyrie says. ‘‘It’s not an easy sit­u­a­tion.’’

He gave no de­tails about ne­go­ti­a­tions, even though they could pro­duce a sin­gle-show model as early as next year.

‘‘I wouldn’t say we are close to a deal. I think it will take months, not weeks. It could be sooner, but . . . I think the pos­i­tive thing is we are re­solved to find­ing a so­lu­tion.’’

There is some talk of a com­pro­mise date be­tween the March in Mel­bourne and Septem­ber in Syd­ney, though that is only one point in the com­pli­cated ne­go­ti­a­tion.

‘‘That has been briefly dis­cussed. But, again, ev­ery­thing is on the ta­ble,’’ Tyrie says.

At­ten­dance in Syd­ney is be­lieved to be down 40 per cent, though there are no of­fi­cial fig­ures, and this wor­ries or­gan­is­ers who had hoped to draw big crowds de­spite the loss of big brands such as Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz. Tyrie is still wait­ing to hear their plans for Mel­bourne, which will run from Fe­bru­ary 27 to March 9, but is hope­ful.

‘‘‘We are go­ing rea­son­ably well. I cer­tainly don’t have ev­ery­body, but we are still talk­ing to the doubt­fuls.’’

He is also cop­ing with construction work on the Mel­bourne Con­ven­tion Cen­tre.

‘‘The cen­tre is pro­gress­ing on sched­ule. It won’t mean a lot next year, but it will of­fer great ca­pac­ity for a very in­te­grated launch lo­ca­tion for ex­hibitors,’’ he says.

‘‘We don’t get any more space next year. We’re en­cour­ag­ing the Gov­ern­ment to pro­ceed with the pro­posed 18,000sq m ex­ten­sion, which will make a dif­fer­ence.

‘‘The Grand Prix is a cou­ple of weeks af­ter us next year. As it has done for 70 years, it is ca­pa­ble of stand­ing on its own feet as an event in its own right.’’

Top line: the VACC hopes to have a full com­pli­ment of lux­ury cars at the Mel­bourne In­ter­na­tional Mo­tor Show.

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