Thursday, July 31, 2008

Bottom Gear

I've just been to the Motor Show at the Excel Centre in docklands. I have to say it was a complete disappointment, not least because Audi didn't have a stand. Nor did BMW, VW or Fiat, or if they did I couldn't find them. The last time I went was eight or nine years ago when it was at the NEC. I remember we spent most of the day looking around the stands. I doubt whether we spent more than ninety minutes at the show today.

Has anyone else been? What did you think?


Anonymous said...

Iain, were there any £1000 Tata cars on show?

Anonymous said...

When I saw the title of the post, I assumed you were blogging about Max Mosley.

How disappointing.

There's no point going to the motor show because there's nothing there as good as my car:-

Anonymous said...

But did you see the new Lotus ?

Anonymous said...

did u pay to get in - i didn't & wouldn't. The worst stand: the Mini one - Chav FM blaring out at 10000 decibels.
Did u see the gay Spyker bicycle?

Anonymous said...

No, and I won't now.

Ralph Hancock said...

This information was given in the Telegroan's Saturday motoring section on 26 July; but perhaps only very sad people read this. It mentioned the absence of Aston Martin, Audi, BMW, Chrysler, Ferrari, Fiat, Porsche, Rolls-Royce, Skoda, Volkswagen and Volvo.

However, the main trouble with any exhibition at ExCeL (as it insists on spelling itself) is the sheer horror of the place. I went once, and will never go there again.

Anonymous said...

Peugeot have a fantastic stand and a great car in the 308 RCZ, but the rest of the show is crap.


"Big Boy"

Anonymous said...

Quite. Am in the business and there's a big split between the trade - which wants to pul in lots of interested public who might buy a car, and the exhibitions industry which can't get large continental-style crowds with car displays alone and have to turn the thing into a circus.

The trade then says 'Well, you are just trying to attract people who want a day out, so why should be pay a ton of money for a stand when we won't be cathcing potential buyers?'

Oddly, the big shows on continent (Geneva, Paris, Frankfurt) can attract big crowds just from displaying cars. Seems the Brits find this too boring and need lots of extra 'entertainment'. Excel had to resort to big name rock concerts...

Anonymous said...

The Government in meltdown, the boy Miliband on the warpath, blogdom alive with rumour, politicalbetting's servers probably about to crash under the load. And you're posting about royal visits and motor shows?

At least Benedict Brogan has an excuse - his spectacularly mistimed hols. C'mon Iain. Start writing something vaguely topical. Your blog is slacking - less essential material in recent weeks than at anytime in memory. If you don't get it together, I suspect you'll soon be blogging to yourself. Too many other media interests distracting you? Don't neglect your core brand/identity point!

Anonymous said...

Was the Brown bandwaggon there with all the wheels off it?

Ralph Hancock said...

Anon 6.19: MINI publicity has been dire ever since the thing was launched in 2000 -- even the capitalised name, suggesting that it is both small and large, was an error. But the worst I have ever seen was last Saturday, when a team went out in the streets in the estate version, parked six of them on the left side of the road, and invited people to step into the traffic to try out the suicide door on the wrong side.

Anon 6.30: Brown cast his baleful shadow on the show on the opening day, and remained there for an hour and a half to make sure that the jinx worked.

Will Scott said...

I went on Tuesday and was, like you disappointed - especially with the lack of Audi. Despite some redeeming features (which didn't include the new lotus) it really was a lot worse than even two years ago.

Iain Dale said...

Anonymous 6.03, no

Anonymous 6.19, luckily I had free tickets

Anonymous 6.28, If you look at what I have posted I have written extensively about Brown's leadership crisis, but it is possible to go overboard and bore people. This is after all a diary, so from time to time I write about events I have been to. Most people seem to like the variety.

I freely admit I haven't blogged as much in the last few weeks. I do have a day job and that has to take priority. My traffic has held up very well. I'm still getting an average 10,000 uniques a day, and that;s been consistent for some time.

I know i can't please everyone and have stopped trying. If something happens which I have a view on I will comment on it, but I dont see the point in boring people to death with constant posts on one subject.

Anonymous said...


Re: your post at 7.2 pm

I agree but perhaps when you have time you could do a considered post on the future of the parties after the next election. I would go beyond the current tittle tattle which Guido is doing an excellent job of covering.

Relevant questions might be:

Are we really going to see the entire destruction of Labour here as a party?

Will Labour slit into two with a minority hard left party and the rest of the former Labour MPs going over to LibDems?

Will LibDems meltdown at the next election or will they be resurgent and take the Northern cities and come through as the natural opposition?

What should the Tories do in their first term to take advanage of a massive majority?

P.S I like the non political posts you do. It livens things up a bit. Too much politics makes Jack a dull boy but maybe in a period like this with momentous events occuring a slightly tangential political post for us to get our teeth into would be very welcome.

Newmania said...

Don`t give up your non day job.

Anonymous said...

My husband and son won tickets to the Show - they enjoyed the cars, loved the gorgeous girls, and thought the Alice Cooper Rock Concert was superb!

(no, of course they didn't actually buy anything)

Raedwald said...

I hear exactly the same complaints about the boat show at ExceL every year, and last year a rival boat show went back to Earl's Court to some small success.

Americans are happy to drive 300 miles to see a ball of string, and have a great family day out doing so. But put a show 3 miles from the centre of town in the UK and people will not be happy bunnies. They'd rather go to Birmingham than Docklands ExcEl.

Having said that, the Dome is just across the water from ExcEl and is doing OK. But most yotties I know loathe EXcel and would prefer the old Earl's Court to eXCel, for at least they're familiar with the capitalisation.

Anonymous said...

I went 2 years ago and was disappointed in the same way, no german car representation from Volkswagen-Audi group at all.

All in all a complete waste of time to visit, and nowhere near as good as Frankfurt or Amsterdam.

Bill Quango MP said...

Anonymous said...

Was the Brown bandwaggon there with all the wheels off it?

oh thats good.

Andy said...

Summer 2009

Iain Dale goes to Glastonbury.

Iain complains that ELO and Slade aren't headlining.

Get with the times champ. You bought the tickets and they give a pretty good idea of which car firms are there....honestly dear..

OscarIndia said...

Iain, the reason for this is that the majors now look to Detroit (oddly), Geneva, Paris and Tokyo as the main shows. London's a big deal to us, but not to them. In the days when there were a few UK manufacturers (TVR et al) we at least saw new models launched at the London show, sadly no more.

Anonymous said...

The Royal Show this year was a similar disappointment, and for the same reasons.
Agriculture? At the Royal Show? That's not commercial.
Quarantine problems, so very restricted livestock entries: not the show organiser's fault.
But no JCB, no Massey-Fergusen, no John Deere, no Land-Rover: the big companies stayed away.
No demonstrations of modern farming techniques.
Lots of retail opportunities, horticulture, horsiculture, land development consultants, investment brokers.
And noticeably poor attendance.

Anonymous said...

I spent 90 minutes there before being done, and that included about half an hour talking to one of the guys selling yachts (at a car show?!) on the dock outside. Simply not enough cars - too many mass market manufacturers showing six variants of the same supermini in different trims to fill out their stands. I don't mind Excel as a venue, but getting there! Only in this country could the public transport operator move to an off-peak timetable (10 minute gaps between DLR trains) around evening chucking out time from the show, with inevitable consequences...

Anonymous said...

Tachybaptus & Raedwald

I was part of the team which got ExCeL built. I wrote the development brief and ran the competition for it whilst at the old LDDC. The design wasn't quite what we had envisaged, but as an exhibition centre it works better than either Earls Court/Olympia or the NEC.

I don't know which part of the UK your coming from, but I do know that exhibitors and most of the bread and butter exhibition visitors think it is heaven compared with Earls Court/Olympia.

It may not be in West London, but it is accessible by train, tube and DLR and has on-site parking and easy access off the motorway network. That's the key to the majority of its business, which is stuff like industrial cleaning, pumps and valves and construction industry shows. Customer shows like Boat Show and Motor Show are a very small proportion of the business, but they seem to do OK as well.

Where would Mazda have put an outdoor, have-a-go, short race circuit at Earls Court? Could any of the larger boats seen at the Boat Show have even got to Earls Court? I remember the smaller ones being towed through Fulham with police escorts, road closures and all the associated disruption. Now, they either come straight in off the A13, or sail in.

London needed a world class exhibition centre. ExCel now has 35% of all the UKs exhibition business and EC&O is owned by Capital & Counties who bought it to redevelop it for offices and housing. Shame really, because what they would make is a great Convention Centre, which is one thing London still lacks.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this Iain. I got up this morning and realised that I forgot to tape last nights TV programme about the show. Now I know I haven't missed anything.

Anonymous said...

I went - was OK. Had fun on the dodgems in one of the halls!