Coup for Motor Show as BMW ends boycott

German motor manufacturer BMW Group has announced plans to return to a London Motor Show almost five years after its withdrawal spelt the end of the former Earls Court show.

International Motor Industry Events (IMIE), organiser of next year's British International Motor Show (BIMS) in London, has pulled off a major coup by persuading the car giant to exhibit both its BMW and Mini brands at the debut event planned for Excel from 20-30 July 2006.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) awarded the 2006 motor show contract to IMIE after deciding to move its event from the Birmingham NEC to the capital (Event, March).

BMW Group joined Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz and Peugeot in withdrawing support from a London-based show in 2001. It has since been critical of the escalating costs involved with exhibiting at the SMMT's biennial event in Birmingham.

BMW UK managing director Jim O'Donnell said: "We felt that we could spend our marketing budget more wisely but I believe the new show, in the heart of our capital city, has addressed my concerns.

"Mini has been present at every British motor show since the car's launch in 2001 and I can guarantee we will use every opportunity to present our brands in an interesting and innovative way."

IMIE sales director Giles Brown said: "This decision is a huge boost for the new London show and strengthens our belief that the location, format and interactive elements are what key manufacturers are looking for."

Meanwhile Melville Exhibition and Event Services has been appointed sole supplier of shell scheme, electrical, furniture and carpet services to BIMS. Feature areas will include a 2.2km test drive track, an off-road course and a live motor theatre.

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