British Auto Show RIP: Good Riddance to Bad Rubbish

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago
british auto show rip good riddance to bad rubbish

I’ve never made a secret of the fact that I loathe auto shows. And I’m talking about the press days, where I can meet all my good friends from Automotive News, The Detroit News, Autoblog, Jalopnik, Motor Trend, etc. and score tons of child-friendly swag and jump into any vehicle I want without getting my knuckles rapped. Of course, it’s work. You couldn’t get to me to the civilian side of these events for love (for cars I got lots) nor money (which my writers could certainly use). Look don’t touch? Touch don’t drive? Line-up to see something you saw on the Internet weeks or months ago? Pay for the privilege? Crap food? I get the bonding with the kids thing, and I know there are OCD brochure collectors out there. Modelizers need apply. But other than that, why bother? Manufacturers are wondering the same thing. So . . . say goodbye to the British Motor Show, where attendance has plummeted in recent years. Tokyo’s next. Another sign that the traditional industry template is broken. And not a moment too soon. A bit late, actually. But there you go.

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4 of 21 comments
  • Petrolhead85 Petrolhead85 on Mar 19, 2009

    And what exactly is wrong with being an obsessive brochure collector?!? The secret to avoiding the crowds and the snot-nosed kids is to go as early as possible, preferably when the doors open. Believe it or not, some of us don't get to test drive new cars for a living so it's the only time we actually get to go near these cars without sales vultures hovering around. I'm not sure about other car shows, but the last time I went to the Vancouver show practically all the cars were open, except for the Ferraris. I got to sit in a Jag XK, BMW 7-series, Merc S-class, Mitsubishi EVO MR and Subaru STI just to name a few.

  • 50merc 50merc on Mar 19, 2009

    "I loathe auto shows" Huh? I love auto shows. (And go when there are no crowds.) Where else can I sit in a bunch of new cars with being set upon by the velociraptors a.k.a. salespeople. (Sorry, dwford; I know you guys are forced to be that way.) Now, if only the batteries weren't disconnected so I could see if the seat can be adjusted to a comfortable position...

  • Gcorley Gcorley on Mar 20, 2009

    I have been going to auto shows in Europe & the US for over 40 years. In the last 10 years they have become more and more pointless. Now, if you are really interested by cars you can be kept fully up to date by the internet. Many sites such as TTAC do a fantastic job of keeping us informed on an hour-by-hour basis. Shows such as Detroit are particularly useless, since all the hoods are locked and most of the vehicles have no electric supply! About the only thing you can do is judge the seats and the quality of the interior. On days other than press days, you cannot even look at the exterior styling because of the hoards of people. I think it is better to stay informed by the internet and driving tests/impressions, and short list your choice of vehicles (most people anyway have preferred manufacturers and seldom cross-shop!) and go visit the dealers and actually test them out.

  • Geo. Levecque Geo. Levecque on Mar 20, 2009

    I too don't like Auto Shows, especially when you have to pay a large dollar to attend them, I feel that the Auto companies should pay people to attend, after all they want to sell Cars dont they? I guess living in the rural area here in Ontario, its much too far to drive into Toronto, after you pay high rates for parking and your admission fee and doing lots of walking, its not the best imho!