‘The London Motor Show is the motoring event of the year’

Manufacturers around the globe should get more involved with London Motor Show, argues Mike Rutherford

Not invited to the Royal Wedding this weekend? Can’t afford an FA Cup Final ticket? Don’t fancy schlepping out to Berlin for the Formula E race? Join the club. Only the privileged, comparatively well-off few are able to rock up at this trio of major, eye-wateringly expensive events over the next few days.

But the accessible, affordable London Motor Show... now that’s a different story. It’s a proper, major-league event, too, and its doors opened to the media, auto-industry professionals, motor-trade geezers and assorted liggers (me included) yesterday lunchtime. That’s followed by the three public days, 18-20 May.

London deserves a motor show - and not it’s got one

Wembley’s FA Cup Final tickets cost football fans hundreds of pounds (ouch!) apiece – for 90 minutes of action. Not for me, ta much. Yet across town at ExCeL, a daily fee of less than 20 quid buys petrol/diesel/EV heads the right to spend eight hours getting up close and personal with some of the world’s finest cars. And there are countless other machines on display, too: motorhomes, vans, tractors... you name it.

Sounds corny, but it’s a slightly old-fashioned eve-of-summer festival celebrating cars and other motorised vehicles, along with their drivers, users and admirers. Just as I reckon the Goodwood Festival of Speed beats all other motorsport events in the calendar (British GP included), I’d argue that there’s nothing these days to challenge the London Motor Show’s newly acquired status as the motoring event of the year.

True, the reborn LMS hasn’t earned true ‘British Motor Show’ status for itself... yet. But in the years – not decades – ahead, it can and might. That’s when the annual London Motor Show will in effect evolve into the British Motor Show, maybe staged in London, maybe not. Doesn’t matter.

Either way, more vehicle manufacturers from the UK and overseas must get involved. They owe this to Brit consumers who spend billions buying or leasing cars and related products from them. Really, is it too much to ask that all Brit makers and most from abroad help put on a show in a country where they make extremely healthy profits via 40 million motorists?

World Car of the Year (ranked the number one automotive awards programme on the planet) is backing the London Motor Show by displaying several winners or contenders – including at least one pre-production model that’s making its official public debut in Britain. If WCOTY can go to all this time, trouble and expense, every car manufacturer can and should do the same.

Auto Express readers can get 10 per cent off adult general admission tickets with promo code AUTOEXPRESS10. See www.londonmotorshow.co.uk for info…

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. 

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