Skip advert
Advertisement

‘I fear that Frankfurt and other colossal shows are unsustainable’

Mike Rutherford believes that carmakers’ big-budget displays at motor shows are untenable

I don’t like motor shows. I love ’em. Yet even this car exhibition addict has to question the somewhat bonkers 14-24 September Frankfurt event which covers more square kilometres than any other static car gathering on the planet.

The sheer scale of the ever-expanding event troubles me. But the costs involved are even more worrying as the big three Germans each spend millions – possibly tens of millions – on their respective multi-storey, symbolic monuments constructed by thousands of workers.

Advertisement - Article continues below

Frankfurt Motor Show 2017 round-up

Why should you care that they’re blowing obscene sums employing thousands of builders, then demolition experts, for weeks if not months, while also renting acres of space on what must be one of the most expensive pieces of real estate in Germany?

Because as a consumer, you’re paying for these excesses. If they were reduced it’s unlikely the cars you buy would cost less. But instead of building a temporary ‘mine is bigger than yours’ Frankfurt monument in a futile attempt to outdo BMW and Mercedes, might VW spend its money more wisely properly compensating cheated customers conned in the Dieselgate debacle?

Could BMW’s massive Frankfurt spend be partly diverted into something more useful – like reducing the eye-wateringly high price of servicing/labour costs at its franchised dealerships? Wouldn’t Mercedes impress its customers more if it invested less on its Frankfurt show edifice, and more on making its replacement parts affordable?

I fear that Frankfurt and other colossal shows featuring stands the size of small countries are unsustainable. They’ve become just too fat and too expensive for some manufacturers. As a motor show aficionado I say make them smaller, cosier, more humble and less expensive – for companies to exhibit, and for members of the public to attend.

Oh, and one last thing: why, oh, why do the German giants and other huge corporations with more money than sense stick so rigidly to the decades-old formula of static displays at shows? In the outdoor arenas alongside the echoey Frankfurt show barns, Jaguar Land Rover and one or two other manufacturers had exciting cars being driven in anger. Good on them. And shame on the other firms who parked up their cars on their multi-million stands in the hope that this was enough. It wasn’t.

Do you think motor shows should be trimmed down? Or is it a case of ‘the bigger the better’? Tell us what you think!

Skip advert
Advertisement
Chief columnist

Mike was one of the founding fathers of Auto Express in 1988. He's been motoring editor on four tabloid newspapers - London Evening News, The Sun, News of the World & Daily Mirror. He was also a weekly columnist on the Daily Telegraph, The Independent and The Sunday Times. 

Skip advert
Advertisement

Most Popular

Toyota Yaris vs Renault Clio 2024 twin test: hybrid supermini battle
Toyota Yaris vs Renault Clio E-Tech - front tracking
Car group tests

Toyota Yaris vs Renault Clio 2024 twin test: hybrid supermini battle

With more and more electrified rivals arriving, Toyota has given its hybrid-only Yaris a facelift. We put it up against Renault’s class-leading Clio.
13 Apr 2024
'The cure for slow electric car sales is simple - lower prices'
Mike Rutherford opinion - Skoda Enyaq tracking shot
Opinion

'The cure for slow electric car sales is simple - lower prices'

Mike Rutherford thinks the prices of electric cars is the number one thing deterring consumers from making the switch
14 Apr 2024
New Volkswagen Golf 2024: facelifted hatchback icon on sale from 11 April
Facelifted Volkswagen Golf - front static
News

New Volkswagen Golf 2024: facelifted hatchback icon on sale from 11 April

The eighth-generation Golf has been given a mid-life refresh - just in time for the model’s 50th birthday
9 Apr 2024