Auto shows were in retreat even before the pandemic hit, with automakers pulling out of global events in droves, leaving some show halls sparse and quiet. The culprits, to name a few, were the changing nature of publicity in the car business, a greater belief on the part of automakers on digital influencers and the decline in foot traffic in the events themselves as a way for shoppers to find out about new cars.
But one auto show, with its heyday now in the distant past, is set to stage a comeback in 2021.
The British motor show, which may be a familiar name to those reading car magazines in decades past, is set to return in August next year after an absence of more than a decade. If you’re wondering what had caused it to shut down back in the day, the answer was yet another crisis affecting the auto industry, with the show being cancelled after 2008.
Now set to run from August 19 through 22 at the Farnborough International, the British motor show has added three new driving experiences: The Paul Swift Stunt Driving Experience, The Caterham Experience and the Under 17 Driving Lessons.
“Even through these toughest of times, we’ve really got behind and supported our exhibitors,” said Andy Entwistle, the show CEO. “Rather than sit it out and wait, we’ve invented the Pop-Up Motor Show concept, which has seen thousands of advanced ticket sales for the main event and has given our existing exhibitors and partners exposure when other exhibition companies had given up.”
The Paul Swift Stunt Driving Experience will let show goers experience drifting, J-turns and a slalom course as passengers, with stunt drivers behind the wheel. The Caterham Experience, meanwhile, will let visitors go for a ride in a Caterham through a slalom course, as well as in a simulator. The third driving experience will yet youngsters drive a manual-transmission dual-control car with a qualified instructor.
The show will also include a Supercar Paddock, test drives, classic cars, the IMI Technology Theater and a marketplace, among other features.
It remains to be seen on what scale the British motor show will be able to return, especially in a time still expected to be affected not only by the pandemic but the finalization of Brexit negotiations. Brexit’s results and impact are still uncertain but will certainly have a profound effect on the auto industry in the U.K. So far, the fallout from Brexit has been wholly negative for the British car industry, with the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders recently warning of multi-billion dollar losses for U.K. car manufacturing in the event of a return to WTO rules — something that could cast a shadow over the show in 2021.
“While it was soul-destroying to have to reschedule this year’s show due to the pandemic when we had already built up so much support, the enforced delay has allowed us to concentrate on some of the areas where we were already planning to enhance the show for 2021,” Entwistle added. “We are now able to confirm that we will definitely be giving car fans and families an amazing day out in 2021, and all for just £18.50 per head, or £37 for a family ticket.”
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