Babes in big
Australia claims the world stage with onema motor show and 35 brands, writes Paul Gov
PRICE-fighters battle with supercars at the new-age Australian International Motor Show. On one side of the glittering $50 million display at the Darling Harbour exhibition centre in Sydney is the $700,000 Lexus LFA— a sellout speed machine that can top 315km/h — and across the aisle is the latest $12,490 Holden Barina Spark.
It’s a sign of the times that GM Holden, which stunned Australia when it revealed its Monaro concept car at Darling Harbour in 1998, has the Spark as its centrepiece for 2010.
More than a decade ago the Holden stand was flooded by chequebook-waving fans who had to have a Monaro, but there is no repeat this time with the Spark.
Instead, the smallest Holden is going up against an all-new $12,990 Nissan Micra unveiled at the show and a Toyota Yaris that cops a price chop as sales chief Dave Buttner does opening-day duties for Australia’s favourite brand.
It takes more than four hours for each of the major makers at the show — and there are more than 35 brands in total— to make their pitch on opening morning.
Each has something to say, from Audi with its baby A1 through to Volvo with the first local appearance of its new S60 sedan. But the biggest news of all is that Australia finally has a single motor show.
It took a walkout by many of the major brands, and months of talks between the Victorian Automobile Chamber of Commerce, which controls Melbourne, and the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries for Sydney, to reach a compromise that means there is finally a true Australian International Motor Show.
Next year it flips to Melbourne, with the dates confirmed as July 1-10, and there are big plans to make an impact on the worldwide motoring calendar.
The foundations are being laid this year with the world debut of the T6
Pickup lines: the Ford Ranger made its world debut at the Australian International Motor Show.