Tim O'Brien | Mar 2, 2009

Cruzin’ into the future: FCAI boss Andrew McKellar, GM Holden chief Mark Reuss (and FCAI President), VACC’s Perce Makin and David Purchase sign the joint venture agreement at the 2009 Motor Show opening.

As many are now aware, the 2009 Motor Show is the last for Melbourne until 2011. A single Australian International Motor Show, to alternate year-about between Sydney and Melbourne, will replace annual shows in each city.

The reason? Escalating costs have made manufacturers and importers reluctant to appear at two major shows in the one year in the small Australian market. Seventeen brands were no-shows at Sydney 2008, and a number, notably Mercedes, Ferrari and Alfa Romeo, are no-shows at Melbourne this year.

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Late last year, the manufacturers, with former Ford Australia chief Bill Osborne taking the lead at what was reportedly a 'forthright encounter', brought the organisers of the Melbourne and Sydney Motor Shows to the table to agree on a single, shared annual event.

Historically, the Victorian Automobile Chamber of Commerce (VACC) had staged the Melbourne event – something it had been doing for 75 years - while the Federated Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) looked after the Sydney Motor Show.

"The manufacturers have been saying to us for quite a while that they couldn't sustain the costs of having two major shows each year,” VACC Executive Director David Purchase said.

Now, under a joint venture agreement between VACC and the FCAI, there will be just one major International Motor Show annually in Australia.

“As joint venture partners, we look forward to building the Australian International Motor Show brand.

“I have no doubt that with the energy of Australia’s two truly international cities, Sydney and Melbourne, behind this initiative, the Australian International Motor Show will become one of the world’s great motor shows,” Mr Purchase said.

A single International Motor Show will certainly be a bigger and grander event than the current split-schedule. And it will be certain to bring many more concepts and show specials to these shores; but will people be prepared to travel interstate when there’s just one show annually?

That’s the question.