In November, the Volkswagen Group, BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Peugeot
pulled out of this year's London Motor Show. By March, Volvo, Mazda and
Ford had joined the exodus, as well as Toyota, Lexus and Daewoo.
The problem was an industry strapped for cash - and exhibiting at motor
shows can be an expensive business. The event, due to take place from
17-28 October, seemed in deep trouble and organiser Clarion Events went
back to the drawing board to see what could be done. In April, the
company brought on board Tim Pyne, creative director at design agency
Work. His appointment was part of a pounds 1m crisis fund to revise the
This is a first exclusive look at the finished designs for the new
London Motor Show.
The concept is the brainchild of Clarion managing director Andrew
Morris. Along with show director Mark Saunders, the pair hope it will
not only boost direct sales and successful leads at the show, but will
also tempt those manufacturers that have pulled out to reconsider this
new cost-effective way to exhibit. 'The entire London Motor Show is now
owned by the organiser. No manufacturer will be allowed to have its own
stand,' says Pyne. 'There will be a number of themed stands and
manufacturers will be invited to exhibit their cars next to each other
in these feature areas. It costs from pounds 500,000 to pounds 1m to
build a motor show stand and the financial problems facing the industry
have been well publicised. This concept will allow companies to exhibit
without breaking their budgets.'
At last year's British International Motor Show at the NEC, Toyota
reportedly spent pounds 1m while Mercedes forked out pounds 800,000 on
hiring equipment and staffing its stand. Under the revised London show
concept, manufacturers will be charged pounds 10,000 for a showcase slot
on one of the themed areas.
Immediate issues that arise from this unique approach to exhibiting cars
is the issue of brand awareness. Will car manufacturers accept that they
need to exhibit alongside their rivals in an area of equal branding? The
answer may be found in the statistic that one-third of new car sales
occur in the South East, from which you can conclude that the London
Motor Show is vital to the industry and must evolve if it is to
'We have approached manufacturers and they have all reacted positively
to the plans. Marketing benefits and brand communication strategies are
better suited to the international shows. The London show is a consumer
event and the car companies recognise that this format will improve
sales,' says Saunders.
Consumer magazine Autocar, however, says Vauxhall - the manufacturer
that has always publicly backed the show - has voiced concerns over the
'As a punter, I would welcome this approach. But where is our focal
point? We want people to see the Vauxhall brand rather than a selection
of cars scattered around the show,' a Vauxhall spokesman says.
The aim of the new format is that the busy businesswoman looking to buy
a sports car can save herself time trudging around all the stands. All
she needs to do is go to the relevant feature area and compare models
from all the manufacturers. 'It is critical that these areas are
designed properly to avoid the hall looking like a massive car park,'
'The designs we have come up with will enhance the whole visitor
experience of attending a motor show and should create a lot of interest
from around the world.'
Designs still to be developed include two feature areas entitled One
Careful Owner and Changing Cars, which will look at the trends in car
design over the next ten years. 'We have also discovered two new
categories that need to be represented - medium sized cars and
recreational vehicles,' Pyne says. 'There has never been an exhibition
that will be quite like this. It promises to appeal to a huge
EXECUTIVE AND SMALL EXECUTIVE CARS
Vehicles will be displayed on leather plinths, while the floor will be
an enlarged chalkline pin-striped carpet. Large-scale black executive
desk lamps will hang over the cars.
Lighting from floor troughs will be reflected by huge yellow, shiny
balloons hanging from the ceiling. Large leatherette beanbags will
provide an area in which children can relax or play.
CITY AND SUPERMINIS
Urban roadscape design will feature billboard architecture, with
lighting provided by large-scale parking meters. Actors dressed as
traffic wardens will provide interactivity.
Vehicles will be displayed on plinths designed as first-class postage
stamps, with the gridded flooring providing the feel of a stamp album.
Giant magnifying glasses will hang overhead.
The floor will be treated as a road outside a school with white zigzags.
Large Belisha beacons will stand along side the cars with lighting from
large-scale Stop Children signs hanging overhead.
Represents the cycle lane at the front of the traffic lights where all
the bikes stop. According to designer Tim Pyne, car owners will
instantly recognise this design.
COUPES AND OPEN CARS
Vehicles will be exhibited on a screen-printed sky floor. Giant
floor-standing fans will provide a wind-in-the-hair driving environment.
Lighting will come from large curved sunlamps.
The area will be designed as a rural idyll. Real manicured trees and
privet-hedges will divide the cars. The flooring will be created from
field turf and the trees will feature dice-faces with lighting support.