British Motor Show Is Cancelled

The British International Motor Show planned for 2010 in London has been cancelled because of the global slump in demand for cars, according to the U.K. Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.

“The economic downturn and the unprecedented challenges facing the industry, both in the U.K. and around the world, have made it impossible for exhibitors to commit to a 2010 event,” the trade group said today in a statement.

The event has attracted an increasing number of visitors and the decision to cancel was “extremely difficult,” SMMT President Paul Everitt said in the statement. The move followed a thorough consultation with the industry, the group said. The SMMT is pressing the U.K. government to boost aid to automakers, including direct incentives to trade old cars for new ones.

Carmakers across Britain have slowed production in response to declining demand. Volkswagen AG’s Bentley luxury division said Jan. 21 it will suspend production at its factory in Crewe, England, for seven weeks. Nissan Motor Co. will eliminate 1,200 jobs at a plant in Sunderland, while Honda Motor Co. temporarily halted operations in Swindon.

The motor show, first held in London in 1903, returned to the capital in 2006 after more than two decades in Birmingham. The biennial event was last held in the summer of 2008 at the ExCeL arena in the U.K. capital.

Group Lotus Plc and VW’s Bentley were among manufacturers that introduced new premium models at last year’s gathering. The show included a champagne bar, a “live action arena” and performances by Deep Purple and Meat Loaf.

Since the event, U.K. car sales have fallen, with a plunge of 22 percent last month outpacing an 18 percent decline in Europe. The continent’s manufacturers are likely to make 25 percent fewer vehicles this year, the European Automobile Manufacturers Association said on March 5.

Tata Motors Ltd.’s Jaguar Land Rover has cut temporary staff and reached an agreement with workers to reduce production to avoid job losses. Bayerische Motoren Werke AG, the world’s largest luxury-car maker, is reducing shifts and eliminating 850 jobs at its Mini car factory in Oxford.

Originally from Bloomberg Media.

Staff

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