Car industry brings motor show to a halt

Motor industry bosses are axing the flagship British International Motor Show after more than a century, blaming the impact on the industry of the economic slump.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders (SMMT) said the biennial show, which last took place in 2008 but was cancelled this year, would not be reinstated in 2012.

The event first took place in 1903 at Crystal Palace and became a regular fixture on the motor industry’s calendar, taking place annually until 1976 when organisers decided to switch it to alternate years.

Despite a rise in the number of people attending the last show in 2008, the industry decided it would be impossible to hold the event this year and in 2012 due to the economic downturn and “unprecedented challenges facing the industry in the UK and around the world”.

The SMMT said the show had been “a tremendously successful showcase” for the UK motor industry, but had become less influential in recent years in persuading new car buyers to part with their cash. SMMT chief executive Paul Everitt said: “Vehicle manufacturers are focusing their limited resources on events and activities that have a more direct impact on brand awareness and consumer decisions.”

The show last took place in July and August 2008 at the ExCel Centre in London’s Docklands.