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2006 British International Motor Show

The British International Motor Show has fallen on tough times and after years at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham, the organizers – the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders – moved the event to London at the state-of-the-art ExCeL centre in Docklands for the 2006 show. The show runs from July 20 through July 30, 2006.

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For those of us who have trekked to Birmingham to view the Motor Show, and AutoPacific has attended several (but not this one), it was an interesting train ride from London and a quick walk from the train to the exhibition hall. The show was manageable, not overwhelmed by gargantuan displays of local car-makers. When Rover went kaput, Birmingham’s critical mass disappeared.
The problem also is that Birmingham – while in the midst of the British car industry in the Midlands – is not the population center that London is.
For the 2006 show, the British-based manufacturers pulled out all the stops wotj world debuts from Land Rover (new Freelander/LR2), Jaguar (XKR) and Vauxhall/Opel (new Corsa), plus global debuts from BMW (M6 Cabriolet) and SEAT (Leon Cupra).
The most obvious thing about the British Motor Show in its new digs are the absentees. No-shows include: Audi, Skoda and Volkswagen; in fact, the only VW Group brand in London is SEAT, which showed off the Leon Cupra. Ferrari, Fiat, Lamborghini, Maserati, Perodua, Porsche, Proton, Subaru or Suzuki were not there either. This begs the question asked bi-annually… is there still a place for the British Motor Show? Has it been so overshadowed by Paris, Frankfurt, Tokyo, Geneva and Detroit that its place has become that of a local or regional show?

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