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Sydney & Melbourne to Alternate Motor Shows

The organisers of the Sydney and Melbourne motor shows are looking at alternating their shows after increasing costs drive carmarkers out of attending two shows a year.

The Sydney and Melbourne motor shows are likely to be held on alternating years from 2009, with organisers of both events poised to change the scheduling to have just one major car show a year in Australia.

With a number of leading luxury brands withdrawing from the Sydney Motor Show this year the push for a single show has been gathering pace, with manufacturers protesting at the escalating cost of attending two shows a year. The exorbident fees of up to $1 million for each show has placed a significant cost on manufacturers and caused many to reassess their continual attendance.

As disappointing as it will be for the tens of thousands of patrons that attend the shows in Sydney and Melbourne each year, it will also be an opportunity for car enthusiasts who want to attend the show each year to enjoy the other states hospitality with both NSW and VIC Tourism keen to put together some enticing packages.

The Melbourne show this year was missing around a dozen brands, while October’s Sydney motor show has already lost key exhibitors including BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Porsche, Jaguar, Land Rover, Alfa Romeo, Citroen, Fiat and Bentley, clearly underlining the fact that carmakers believe the money could be better spent elsewhere.

At a time where manufacturers like GM are feeling the pinch with a $15 billion dollar loss you can see why the major brands are demanding only one show a year. The fact that the two shows are run by different organisations – Sydney by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries and Melbourne by the Victorian Automobile Chamber of Commerce – hasn’t helped and both have been reluctant until recently to talk about alternating shows.

The chief executive of the FCAI, Andrew McKellar, refused to discuss specifics of a deal between the two show organisers but confirmed a solution to the problem was being sought.

“I think what we have to do is ensure that we have a sustainable model in terms of the number and frequency of motor shows. We currently have five motor shows around Australia each year and that is a major logistical and cost challenge for everybody in the market,” he says.

“Sydney and Melbourne are doing a lot to ensure there is a sustainable model but at this stage it’s premature to speculate what that model will entail.”

“We need to work through the options. There are several available, we just need to arrive at a model the industry will support.”

There is a precedent for alternating shows. The two leading European motor shows, Paris and Frankfurt, alternate years, while the Tokyo motor show is held once every two years.