LONDON -- The U.K. could once again have a major auto show after organizers announced dates for an event in 2016. BNC Special Events plans to stage a show for car enthusiasts in London.
"We are the second largest car market in Europe and it doesn’t seem right that there isn’t a show in London," Stephen Maitland-Oxley, BNC's event director told Automotive News Europe.
BNC Special Events' show will not be an event recognized by the industry like the British Motor Show, which was long part of the global auto show calendar, and was last held in 2008. Its organizers, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, axed the show because of dwindling interest from automakers, which are switching marketing spending to activities that have a more direct impact on brand awareness and consumer buying decisions.
BNC's Maitland-Oxley said the new event will not try to recreate the traditional auto show atmosphere. "It will be very hands-on. It will be about getting people into the cars, driving the cars," he said.
Vehicle safety and low-emission motoring will be strongly represented at the show, he said.
The event is planned to be held May 5-8 2016 in London’s Battersea Park on the south bank of the river Thames. The outdoor park is also the venue for the 2015 finale of the current season of the Formula E electric race series.
The Goodwood Festival of Speed, which this year attracted 200,000 visitors, is often described as the unofficial British Motor Show. The four-day outdoor event is held annually in the grounds of a country house in the south of England, combining motorsport demonstrations with static displays of new models.
Maitland-Smith said two events can exist together. “There is a need for a show in London,” he said. “The city has a large population. There are huge opportunities for manufacturers, dealerships, trade bodies and organizations across the industry.”
He said the organizers were in discussions with automakers and the SMMT to support the event.