16 December 2004 | Cara Whitehouse
The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has put the British International Motor Show out to tender.
The biennial event has been held at Birmingham's National Exhibition Centre (NEC) since 1978. But the SMMT's contract with the NEC, on a three-show basis, was not renewed in 2000.
The SMMT did not say it had lost money on the event, which it stages itself. But there is concern among its members that the UK event is slipping in importance to the other major motor shows in Paris, Frankfurt and Geneva, partly due to its location.
"As far as I'm aware, this is the first time that the show has been put out to tender," said Paul Everitt, head of communications, economics and policy at the SMMT.
Everitt said the SMMT, an umbrella body for the sector, is working with its members to achieve better value for money on the show, which costs more than £20 million to stage.
Three bids are being reviewed by the SMMT: London's Earl's Court with Clarion events; a consortium of the ExCel centre in London's Docklands, made up of the London EventCo and Single Market Events; and the Birmingham NEC with Haymarket Exhibitions.