Not quite all for one yet
It’s showtime as usual, but the difficult move towards a single event is progressing, writes PAUL GOVER
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.