The Barcelona International Motor Show 2013: positive sales results and more than 700,000 visitors

Car dealers are satisfied with this year’s Motor Show as several brands posted solid sales balances. However, some visitors were disappointed as major car manufacturers were absent, attendants were not very enthusiastic about the worldwide premiers and there was a lack of glamour. Driving simulators and luxury-car payment tours were the main alternative for those who wanted something other than the regular exhibition. The organisers are optimistic and aim to restore the splendour of past shows as the economic situation improves and Barcelona becomes a more important city for motor events.

Marc Ferragut

May 23, 2013 12:17 AM

Barcelona (CNA).– In difficult times for the automobile industry, the Barcelona International Motor Show continues to survive. The organisers expected 700,000 visitors in eleven days at the Montjuïc trade fair and managed to achieve their goal. Sellers were also satisfied with the results at the Saló de l’Automòbil 2013, especially considering the situation of the sector. Some brands such as Nissan, Land Rover, Jaguar or Seat reached solid sales levels. Mercedes was even close to sales figures registered in past exhibitions before the economic crisis.

“The fact that 22 brands have made the effort to come to the Show and bring their novelties is very good news for the motor car sector, for the Saló de l’Automòbil and for Barcelona in general” said the press officer Folc Lecha. The most important absences were BMW, Toyota and Fiat, but their stands were covered with an exhibition about the 50th Anniversary of the Car of the Year Award. This section attracted mainly mature drivers able to recognise the cars they owned in the past, like the Fiat Panda or the Volkswagen Golf.

Two worldwide novelties

The two worldwide premiers aroused visitor’s curiosity, but not enthusiasm. The Renault Twizy Sport F1 is an electric single-seater prototype that includes the KERS technology used in Formula 1, which transforms the kinetic energy generated by the brakes into additional acceleration. The Volkswagen e-Up! is less peculiar and more practical. Basically, it is the electric version of the urban model Up! The German manufacturer also showed off the XL1, a futurist hybrid car that only consumes one litre of fuel every 100 kilometres. For press officer Folc Lecha “the presence of a high number of electric cars proves that electric mobility in any of its versions is no longer an experiment and has become a real industry”. In any case, the European premiers of the Audi A3 Sedán, Mercedes GLA, Nissan Juke 1.5 Dci and Range Rover Sport seemed to be more attractive to customers.

Less glamour and entertainment for motor fans

The complementary activities of the Barcelona International Motor Show were mainly driving simulators, including one by World Rally Car, the usual test zone and luxury-car payment tours. From 49 euros onwards, these stands offered the possibility of driving a Ferrari, Porsche or Lamborghini around the old Montjuïc Circuit. The passing of these sports cars was constant along the Maria Cristina Avenue, the road in the middle of the Saló de l’Automòbil, giving dynamism to the fair. “Given the lack of spectacles, some visitors chose to pay and feel the experience of driving these cars” says a spokesperson of Formula GT, which organises this kind of tours. “We had more customers than we expected, it has been a good year for us” he adds.

These stands at the Maria Cristina Avenue were also a great opportunity to get closer to luxury sports cars. At least, fans could touch the bodywork, take pictures and hear the roar of the engines for free. Inside the fair venues, the luxury sports cars section was more like an exclusive area. “There is only one stand with all the brands together and just two or three cars for each one. I would prefer separate stands and more cars to see” complained Toni, a visitor.

At the same time, attendants missed the entertainment they had in previous exhibitions. “Two years ago there were driving games or even football competitions where you could win tickets for the Champions League” says Jordi, a young motor fan. Despite certain disappointment, the majority of visitors were aware of the difficulty of going ahead with the Barcelona International Motor Show in the current economic context, which also affects them. “I would like to buy a car and the Saló de l’Automòbil is a very good place to do so, but now is not the moment” declares Toni.

Good synergy with the X Games and the Formula 1 Grand Prix

Like many young visitors, Jordi also attended the X Games, the extreme sports competition that includes motorbike jumps and rally races: “I bought a ticket for several days at the Saló de l’Automòbil with my family and I went to see the X Games with some friends”. During eleven days, Barcelona has been a motor city. The International Motor Show began along with the Spanish Formula 1 Grand Prix at the Circuit de Catalunya more than a week ago and the trade fair finished last Sunday, the same day of the X Games finals. The extreme sports competition took place at the Olympic Ring at the top of Montjuïc, while the Saló de l’Automòbil was being held at the foot of the same hill.

Optimistic about the future

Folc Lecha, the press officer of the Saló de l’Automòbil, affirms that these events “search for a coincidence because it creates a synergy that is beneficial for everyone”. It was the fifth time that the Formula 1 and the International Motor Show coincided in Barcelona and now the X Games will intensify this positive effect. Besides, this year’s fair received special support from the authorities: Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy headed a meeting with directors of the main car brands at the opening of the Saló to show support to the automobile sector. For these reasons, along with the good results in attendance and sales, the organisers are optimistic about the future. They aim to restore the old splendour of the Saló de l’Automòbil and help to make Barcelona a world motor capital.