It has been amazing to watch the growth of The London Motor Show going from the bustling events that took place within Battersea Park through to their most recent show at the ExCel Centre in the City of London. In my opinion, expanding into a bigger venue was definitely a step in the right direction. This show is something to be proud of and it is something automotive fans around the UK need to support. It may take a while, but there is potential for this show to become globally recognised and that can only be a good thing.
As good as the intimate and busy Battersea Park venue was, the show had outgrown that space. I feel that the Excel Centre was a good choice as it gave the organisers more to work with. The North Hall was a home for all of the exhibitors and stands you would normally expect to see and the South Hall became the Mercedes-Benz world driving arena.
Shortly after arriving at the Excel Centre on the first day of the show, I was greeted by the loud screeching of a vehicle inside the South Hall. As any car enthusiast hearing that sound would, I headed right into the hall to see what was going on. The noise was being generated by a member of the Mercedes-Benz Silver Arrows who was delivering a precision driving display. It was a thrilling exhibition of driving skill and a great starting point for me to begin checking out the rest of the show.
Adding a live element to this event was a smart decision. We all enjoy drooling over stunning cars but watching some live driving is a nice way to switch it up and keep things interesting. In the future, I actually think it would be a great idea for the show to invite some owners of rare and exotic cars down to the event to showcase their vehicles in the driving arena. It would be like a live car parade where we get to see some beautiful cars driving around and hear their powerful engines roar. For example, whilst I was at the Mercedes-Benz World stand the green Mercedes-Benz AMG GT was turned on for literally fifteen seconds. It was lightly revved a few times and I got goosebumps. As soon as that engine came on people started coming around like bees to honey. Imagine if you had a whole parade of stunning cars revving and driving around for attendees, it would be awesome. In short, what I’m trying to say is that the live show is a welcome addition and I can see an opportunity for it to get even better at future shows.
On the press and trade day, I was able to attend some of the interviews that took place at the Lecture Theatre. For me, the most interesting interview was the one with DriveTribe CEO Jonathan Morris and Chief Marketing Officer, Jim Murray Jones. The interview, which was conducted by former F1 driver Karun Chandhok, provided some insight into what DriveTribe is and how it plans to evolve over the coming years. I was happy to hear that Jonathan and Jim recognise the shift that is happening with regards to the different ways people digest automotive media. For example, regular people like Shmee150 and Queen B are creating engaging content for car fans around the world. People aren’t always looking to traditional media for information these days, instead, they are turning to YouTube, blogs, social media and online forums for content that caters to their specific need.
Exhibitor-wise I felt that this show had a very good balance. On one hand, you had Dub Customs showcasing their wrapped vehicles, and Liberty Walk with their in-your-face body kits and customisation’s, and on the other hand you had RS Motorhomes, Triumph Motorcycles and JCB. There really was something for everyone at this event. It will be interesting to see if this balance can be maintained as the show continues to grow. I really hope it does as I feel this is one of the event’s strong points.
Some of the standout exhibitors for me were H.R. Owen, who brought some amazing cars, including the Lamborghini Urus, Aston Martin Vantage, Ferrari Portofino and Bentley Continental GT, Clive Sutton, who showcased a custom-built Ford Mustang GT500CS and Lister Motor Company who brought a matte black Lister Thunder and the Lister Knobbly. That said, there were loads of other fantastic stands and vehicles on display. It was nice to see Hyundai showcasing their new Kona SUV and the award-winning i30N, MG with their ZS compact-SUV and TVR with their new Griffith sports car. Oh, and I have to give a mention to the jaw-dropping Noble M600 CarbonSport displayed on the Noble Automotive stand. That thing was mental!
To sum it all up, the organisers said that this show was going to be bigger and better, and it was. There was more space, more to watch and generally more going on. As mentioned earlier, there was a great balance of different exhibitors making the event attractive to all types of automotive enthusiasts. It may be a way off, but I would like to see some exclusive car launches at this event. Also, I think there is room to expand on the lecture theatre and have a bigger stage where attendees can listen to, and interact with, automotive personalities in Q&A sessions etc. Additionally, I want to see more major manufacturers from around the world getting involved with the event. The show was a success and I am already left looking forward to what next years show has in store. I have faith that it will be even bigger and even better than this year.