The carmaker crisis claimed another victim when organisers slammed the brakes on this year’s Commercial Vehicle Show at the National Exhibition Centre.
The annual three-day event, one of the biggest in Europe, was cancelled after truck and van manufacturers pulled out.
Organisers said this year’s show, due to run from April 28 to 30, was to have been revamped and scaled down because of the slump that has hit commercial vehicle manufacturers and components suppliers throughout the world.
Companies that paid for their stands will be reimbursed and plans are being made to reinstate the event next year.
Last year’s show, one of the most successful in the event’s ten-year history, attracted more than 28,000 visitors.
About 290 exhibitors had expressed support for this year’s event, which was to have refocused on engineering, compared with 600 normally.
Organiser, the Commercial Vehicle Partnership, said: “The results indicate while some support was forthcoming, it was not enough to retain the credibility the CV Show has created as a major international event and which the partners and show committee were keen to maintain.”
The partnership consists of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), the Road Haulage Association (RHA), the Institute of Road Transport Engineers (IRTE), and the Society of Operations Engineers (SOE).
RHA chief executive Roger King said: “We have obviously noted just about every other show in this sector has been cancelled for 2009. But the advanced status of ours did not permit us to cancel without careful consultation. This was a difficult decision but, on balance, the right one.
“What we learned is, despite a generally negative response to 2009, there appears a much more positive approach to 2010 which encourages the partnership to set plans in motion for a show in April of that year.”
CV Show committee chairman Nigel Emms said: “This is of course disappointing but, given the current climate and the uncertainty created, it is the only decision we could make.”
Nick Jones, chief executive of the SOE, said: “Whilst the cost of cancellation may be considerable, exhibitors will receive a full refund. We are confident exhibitors will be ready to sign up when details are announced for 2010.”
Modec, the Coventry manufacturer of electric-powered, zero emission vans, said it would have exhibited this year. Marketing and sales coordinator Katherine Hutt said of the cancellation: “It is a big shame but not a massive surprise.”
Birmingham Chamber of Commerce and Industry spokesman John Lamb said: “This is very bad news but it is inevitable that this sort of thing will happen in the current climate. It underlines that the government needs to look very seriously at giving some sort of help to the automotive sector.”
The NEC said: “We are naturally disappointed that this year’s Commercial Vehicle Show has been cancelled. The 2008 show was the most successful CV show in recent years, using nearly half of the NEC site and attracting more than 28,000 visitors and 550 exhibitors.
“We fully recognise the challenges facing the automotive sector in the current economic climate, especially here in the West Midlands where we are playing our part to support the initiatives for Jaguar and Land Rover.
“We are working closely with the CV show organisers to deliver an event in 2010 with the same prestige that has been staged here in previous years.”