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London (July 2006)

Name: British International Motor Show
Show dates: International Press Day: Tuesday, July 18, 2006 1 day
International Business Day: Wednesday, July 19, 2006 1 day
General Public Days: July 20 (Thu)-30 (Sun), 2006 11 Days
Venue: ExCeL(Exhibition Centre London)

Outline and Impressions of Show:

The British International Motor Show returned to London for the first time in 30 years from its previous location in Birmingham. The show's new location was brought to the forefront in its visual designs, featuring sites that symbolize London in its background such as the London Eye and Big Ben.

The show was held at ExCeL (Exhibition Centre London). It is located approximately 30 to 40 minutes from central London using the subway and the new public transportation system (DLR: resembles Tokyo's "Yurikamome" line in capacity, automatically operated). It looks similar in its situation to the Makuhari Messe (Tokyo Motor Show venue) in comparison to central Tokyo. The center has 2 halls with a total exhibit space of 72,000m², which is also comparable to Makuhari Messe.

The show was open to the public from July 20 (Thursday) to 30 (Sunday) for a total of 11 days. International Press Day (July 18) and International Business Day (July 19) were held each for 1 day before the show opened to the general public. The show had a total of 191 exhibitors, of which passenger car manufacturers totaled 43 (including carrozzeria manufacturers such as TVR and BRABUS). However, some major manufacturers, such as Volkswagen, Audi and Fiat, as well as Ferrari and Lamborghini, did not exhibit at this show. The show recorded 411,070 visitors, up 24 % from the previous year and surpassing their target of 400,000 for this year.

With the show's return to London for the first time in 30 years, the organizer's enthusiasm to bring fresh air to the show was seen in the various visitor-oriented events. These events were held under the show concept of being an entertainment show that allows visitors to enjoy their whole day there, while continuing to keep automobiles as the central attraction.

The pre-show publicity event, "100 Years of Cars Parade" held 2 days before the Press Day, had a major impact in drawing attention toward the show opening. The stretch of road from Piccadilly Circus to Trafalgar Square in London covering 1.5 km was closed off for a parade involving 250 automobiles ranging from the 1900s to the year 2000. On the day of the parade, throngs of people crowded along the roads in the Piccadilly Circus area, which was broadcast on the BBC news the following morning. There were also a variety of audience-participation and hands-on events held at the motor show, such as "Adventure Land" 4x4 vehicle test rides, "Motor Theatre" musical including car stunts (attendance totaled 91,000), and "Shop @ The Motor Show" where retail stores selling automobile products were gathered in one area.

As for the exhibits at the show itself, however, large-scale display attractions by passenger car manufacturers to draw visitor attention were not so noticeable. Moreover, since most of the exhibited cars were also on sale (or will be on sale), only a few select luxury cars and concept cars were displayed on turntables or in partitioned areas. Meanwhile, BMW, which did not exhibit at the previous show in Birmingham, made a prominent impression by securing a large but outdoors area to create "BMW Group Plaza," displaying a collection of BMW, Rolls Royce and MINI. Likewise, the Ford Group (Ford, Mazda, Jaguar, Aston Martin, Volvo, Land Rover) put up an impressive exhibit by using the same hanging ceiling throughout the group to show a sense of solidarity.

As for Japanese manufacturers, Toyota, Lexus, Nissan, Honda, Mitsubishi, Mazda and Daihatsu exhibited at the show, with each company incorporating creative displays. Toyota showed their "Intelligent Parking System" by actually operating a Prius that is fitted with this system. Honda disassembled its F1 machine parts, and created an installation (within a glass enclosure) reproducing the machine by suspending each part from the ceiling in position.

The British International Motor Show closed having marked its first step after its return to London in 30 years, and having successfully halted the downward trend in the number of visitors from its years at Birmingham.
London show visual
Exterior view
Adventure Land
South Hall
Toyota booth
Nissan booth
Honda booth
Mitsubishi booth
Lotus booth
Morgan booth