The National Automobile Manufacturers Association of SA (Naamsa) confirmed on Monday that the Johannesburg International Motor Show has been cancelled. Naamsa said in a statement that the show, originally scheduled for October 13 – 27, had been cancelled due to increased costs that have “called into question the return on investment for exhibitors”.
Times Media Group’s Business Day earlier reported that president of the National Automobile Manufacturers Association SA (Naamsa) and Toyota CEO Johan van Zyl said he was unable to comment until a statement had been issued on Monday. Though Business Day was aware of the content of the statement, the publication was requested by a number of industry parties not to make it public.
However, Volkswagen SA’s group communications GM, Matt Genrich, confirmed the show had been cancelled. “If there is going to be a motor show then it is not worth it if all manufacturers are not there. The show is postponed to 2016 and a committee has been tasked with coming up with new proposals.”
The decision to cancel the show, which organisers say had 225,000 visitors in 2013 and which would have celebrated its 10th anniversary this year, was taken at an emergency Naamsa meeting on Thursday after manufacturers and importers pulled out. Yves van der Straaten, secretary-general and technical director of the International Organisation of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers, which manages the global motor-show calendar, was made aware of the cancellation only on Friday.
The cancellation also came as a surprise to Wesbank, which was the lead sponsor. Nico Vermeulen, director of Naamsa said: “There is a process we have to follow. There are certain future projects that are important to the industry.”
Those projects, along with the withdrawal of a number of the automotive companies, would have had an effect on the decision to postpone the show. This year the Rugby World Cup is likely to pull financial resources from a number of local companies that are participating. Johannesburg’s hosting of the global EcoMobility World Festival in October will also demand financial commitments from some of the companies likely to be involved.
The costs of being present at the show have been questioned by some car makers in recent years. Volvo chose not take part in the last event in 2013, choosing instead a marketing roadshow around SA. Diederik Reitsma, GM of group communications at BMW SA, said: “The big motor shows like Frankfurt and Geneva are run by the global head office. For local operations it is just too expensive.”
Naamsa said on Monday that a decision on this show was expected by the end of June.