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Moscow (August 2008)

Name: Moscow International Automobile Salon 2008
Show dates: Press Days: August 26 - 27, 2008 (Tuesday to Wednesday) 2 days
Trade Days: August 28, 2008 (Thursday)
General Public Days: August 29 - September 7, 2008 (Friday to Sunday) 10 days
Venue: Crocus Expo International Exhibition Center (Moscow)

Show Outline and Impressions:

The Moscow International Automobile Salon (MIAS), an event sanctioned by the Organisation Internationale des Constructeurs d'Automobiles (OICA; headquartered in Paris), had traditionally been staged as an integrated auto show encompassing commercial vehicles as well. From this year, however, the format has been revised to split the event into passenger car shows in even-numbered years and commercial vehicle shows in odd-numbered years. Following this year’s passenger car show under that new approach, the commercial vehicle show scheduled for April 2009 will be merged with the COMTRANS, a commercial vehicle specialty exhibition organized by a separate entity to date.

The organizer of this year’s Automobile Salon was the Association of Russian Automakers (OAR) .Since it was the first passenger car show following the change in show format, we visited the show venue to gain a perspective on the status of the robust growth now being charted on the Russian automobile market.

MIAS 2008 was held for a 10-day run from August 29 (Thursday) through September 7 (Sunday). The venue was Crocus Expo International Exhibition Center, which is located about 20 kilometers northwest of central Moscow. This is a new facility, opened in March 2004, comprised of three pavilions with 19 halls with aggregate exhibition space of 215,000 sqm. Built inside the Center, is a concert hall with seating capacity for 6,000 guests. The Russian automobile market has continued to expand over the past several years, with this Moscow Salon attracting almost all of the world’s leading brands to showcase their products.

The total exhibition space mobilized for this MIAS was somewhat over 120,000 sqm, with Pavilion 3 (63,000 sqm) devoted to passenger cars, Pavilion 2 (50,000 sqm) to parts and 8,000 sqm of outdoor display space also used in accommodating participation by over 1,000 exhibitors from 30 countries. The 39 major passenger brands taking part in the Salon included Alfa Romeo, Audi, BMW, Cadillac, Citroën, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Daewoo, Dodge, Fiat, Ford, Hummer, Honda, Hyundai, Infiniti, Isuzu, Jaguar, Jeep, Kia, Land Rover, Lexus, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Mini, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Opel, Peugeot, Porsche, Renault, Saab, Seat, Skoda, Ssangyong, Subaru, Suzuki, Toyota, Volkswagen and Volvo. The three Russian domestic automakers of GAZ, UAZ and VAZ also exhibited their cars, along with five brands from China – Brilliance, BYD, Chery, Geely and Great Wall.

Prior to the August 29 (Friday) opening of the Salon to the general public, Press Days were held from August 26 (Tuesday). Eight automakers, including some from Japan, took advantage of this opportunity to unveil nine world premiere models (Mazda Kazamai, Lexus LS 460 All-Wheel Drive, BMW X5 Security, Audi A6, Audi RS 6, Mitsubishi Pajero Sport SUV, Renault Symbol, Skoda Superb V6 3.6 and Citroën C4).

Young journalists were in conspicuous presence at the press briefing, while the individual company presentations included a large number of dance performances. Among those making vivid impressions was the Mazda booth, which featured a choral performance of the Russian folk ballad Polyshka Polye, along with Honda in which the high-tech robot ASIMO appeared in the presentation to help attract visitors. According to industry sources, with the Russian automobile market continuing to expand, a large number of dealers are being launched by local capital, while a business environment is emerging in which outlays can be recouped in several years.

At the venue, Nissan displayed a real vehicle simulator for the GT-R. Toyota booth showcased the F1, while for Land Rover a 4×4 test drive course was set up in the parking lot in front of the hall. In this way, we witnessed numerous examples of booth formats, attractions and other touches undertaken with the goal of attracting the interest of general visitors. The maximum booth height was 5.5 meters, while noise regulations were established to control the sound level at no more than 85 decibels. There were booths that built ramps linking the booth area to the hall aisles, although this was not necessarily the case throughout the show. Shared aisle space of 3 to 5 meters was furnished between the booths, although the impression was that on weekends and other heavy attendance days those walkways would likely become crowded to the point of congestion.

The primary access to the venue was by car or train, with the parking lot generously designed to accommodate some 26,000 vehicles. A subway station is also located about a 5-minute walk from the complex. The second-level concourse in Pavilion 3 contains six buffet style restaurants (serving pizza, meat and fish dishes, sushi rolls, potatoes, salads, beer and soft drinks). The shopping mall adjacent to Pavilion 1, meanwhile, also features tenant boutiques, restaurants, banks and other stores and services.

According to the organizer, with interest in automobiles surging so high in Russia, few large-scale announcements of the motor show were used to target the general public. Such publicity included a limited number of television commercials.

With this Salon targeting at achieving 1.5 million visitors (thus exceeding the 1.42 million visitors of the 2007 Tokyo Motor Show and the 1.43 million visitors of the 2006 Paris Motor Show), along with the high number and richly diversified lineup of exhibitor brands, this is a motor show worthy of keen notice from here on as well. (Immediately after the show closing, the organizer announced the accumulated number of visitors reached about 1.6 million, boasting that“Moscow motor show's attendance figure made it the most attended motor show in the world.”)

Future plans for the Crocus Expo, which served as the venue, include development into an integrated commercial facility, to be known as Crocus City, which will include a cinema complex, luxury hotel and other amenities. Hopes are also running high for the cultivation of the site as an entertainment city as such.
Crocus Expo
Toyota Hybrid X concept
Nissan Cube EV
Mazda Kazamai
Honda Asimo
Subaru Impreza
Land Rover 4×4 test drive
Great Wall Booth
GAZ Booth