News that Febiac has decided to cancel 101St Canceling this edition of the Motor Show came as a surprise to the general public, although dark clouds had been hanging over the Brussels tradition for some time, which unfortunately has not managed to establish itself as the main European motor show.
Of course, it was not easy for the organizer Febiac to organize a complete car show again in 2023 after the corona period and the cancellation twice due to sanitary conditions, in a market that had completely changed at the same time. It is to the credit of salon director Gabriel Goffoy and his team that in January of this year they were still able to organize a real car show, while the previous Paris car show was so important last year that it didn’t deserve it. Europe’s most important auto show and exhibition, that of Geneva, was not rescheduled at all.
Although Febiac spoke of a successful version on January 22 this year, after closing the doors of the Brussels Motor Show after nine days of salons, many observers still agreed that the best years of the motor show were over. Not only that the number of visitors, at 265,000, fell below the expectations of 300,000 less than other years, the absence of Mercedes-Benz, Volvo and Jaguar-Land Rover, among others, also made it felt by the public, which. taking a smaller area than before or he could visit almost all other brands, but then on small stands that often did not show all the models of the range, which was the case before.
So many private people returned from Heysel a little dissatisfied, especially when they had to see with their own eyes that the list prices of the cars shown – often with an electric train – at the same time have risen so far above the average budget that they have started with. wondering if a new car is still an option for them in the current market situation.
Doubt the brand
The fact that the sale of the car – proportionately – did not fall during the years without the power of the salon, those responsible for the brand that decide on the participation (very expensive) in the car show believe more that it can also be done without the car show. . When, as now, it happened that D’Ieteren, importer of VW, Audi, Seat, Skoda, Cupra, Porsche, Lamborghini, Bentley, Bugatti and Rimac, chose not to book for 2024, like Mercedes-Benz, Volvo and Jaguar-Land Rover, who were also absent in 2023, and that BMW was also reluctant to commit, there were not enough brands represented on the market for the organization to be able to talk about a salon with full authority. Febiac decided to cancel the release planned for next year.
The decision is honorable because the organizers – if they persisted – would have had to open a deficient salon, which would certainly make paying guests feel cheated. Then it is better to decide now not to go through with it.
The end of the end?
Does this cancellation mean the end of the Brussels motor show, for many years the biggest domestic event in our country? Chances are, but never say never. Things can change quickly, Heysel will not be demolished immediately and the brands still have to sell their cars in the new context of electrification. They will do so in their showrooms for the next exhibition period, as they did with the previous canceled editions, when Heysel remained empty but dealers offered attractive conditions in their showrooms, in the same period that would have attracted visitors. Brussels. he was impressed.
If we can maintain the tradition of “salon months” and brands use the resources that they have invested in the salon to organize their events, improve the experience in the showrooms and provide competitive conditions, the Belgian salon tradition can live successfully. After all, it would be a pity to immediately mention the whole code in the trash can after a good series of 100 salons.