British International Motor Show

Bulletin 1 - 22 July2008

Doors open to let the world inThe British International Motor Show 2008, sponsored by Zurich Connect, is finally here - the doors opening at 0800 to let in more than 2,500 of the world’s media. They will find plenty to film, photograph and write about. The show features 23 global debuts and more than 50 models making their first European or UK appearance. In total, visitors will be able to see 600 cars on show from 60 manufacturers, worth a total of more than £37 million.First public visitors will arrive tomorrow for VIP Preview Day, and Show marketing director Kirsty Perkinson is looking forward to a highly successful event. “The Motor Show has really established itself in the top-quality surroundings of ExCeL London,” said Perkinson. “We have more car launches than ever before and we also have attractions for all the family, such as the Kids’ Driving School, the boat show in the dock and music in the evening.”Keith Lewis of show sponsor Zurich Connect is equally enthusiastic about the coming days in the ExCeL Halls. “We at Zurich are delighted to be involved with such a high profile event,” he said. “Walking through the halls, there is so much to see, from the many new models from the major motor manufacturers right through to our own stand, which boasts a real fairground dodgem ride and is a real eye-catcher.”

A new car for all at ExCeLNo matter which form of motoring most takes your fancy, there’s an all-new model for you to see at this year’s Motor Show. Vauxhall’s Insignia leads the list of mainstream debuts, while sports car fans will no doubt head directly for the all-new model from Lotus. For lovers of performance cars, look no further than the Ford Focus RS, the most advanced Focus ever made and the luxurious Continental Flying Spur Speed from Bentley Motors.Other cars seen for the first time include the SEAT Ibiza SportCoupé, the new-look Land Rover Discovery and the Nissan Qashqai+2. ‘Green’ international premieres include the Ford Fiesta ECOnetic, with CO2 emissions under 100 g/km, and a whole host of electric cars that emit no CO2 at all.Show marketing director Kirsty Perkinson is delighted with the number of new models being unveiled, significantly up on the previous British show in 2006. She said. “We are thrilled to be hosting more than 20 genuine global premieres, reinforcing the prominence of the Show in the automotive world.”

How cars can go greenThe quest for greener motoring will be the focus of a keynote speech by Ford’s former chief technical officer on Thursday. ‘A Future With Cars’, by Richard Parry-Jones, coincides with the opening of the ‘Greener Driving Pavilion’ at the British International Motor Show being held at ExCeL London.Parry-Jones now chairs a government inquiry into technology aimed at cutting CO2 emissions in cars. He will highlight how future travel will be affected by the need to tackle climate change and how effective current efforts to reduce emissions are.Speaking in central London, Parry-Jones will also look at potential future advances and examine the key roles that need to be played, by Government, industry and the motorist. Spokesperson Karen Parry said that the speech would be thought-provoking; “He will tackle head on the controversial subject of climate change and the car.” The event is being held is association with Autocar at SMMT headquarters. More details from Much sought after Parry-Jones is also the key speaker at the SMMT annual dinner being held at the Hilton Park Lane in November. Full details from

Testing times for celebritiesA host of celebrities will be risking humiliation tomorrow, by re-taking their driving test at the Show. More than a dozen stars of stage, screen and sport have signed up for the first-ever Celebrity Driving Challenge, supported by the BSM driving school and Westfield Sportcars. They will tackle an “It’s a Knockout”-style course, featuring such driving test horrors as reverse parking and reversing around a corner.While Hollyoaks’ Matt Littler, Alex Wotherspoon from The Apprentice and their fellow stars will be having fun and raising funds for the Help for Heroes charity, there is a serious message behind the event. Robin Cummins of BSM believes many motorists consider passing the driving test a rite of passage. But it is always interesting to see how many bad habits are picked up in the years after the test. “It does make you wonder whether a lot of us would actually pass again, second time around,” he said.

What will be green car of the year?Today’s show will see the unveiling of the first ever Green Car of the Year by What Car? magazine.Journalists attending the show are invited to attend the Green Awards ceremony in the Greener Driving Pavilion at 1700. The event, in association with Warranty Direct, will see ten awards presented, culminating in the overall Green Car title.   What Car? group editor Steve Fowler launched the awards in response to overwhelming requests from readers for information on greener cars. He said: “With increasing environmental concerns among car buyers, not to mention green taxes and spiralling fuel costs, the time is right for a recognised Green Awards.”

Insignia makes a splash at the British International Motor ShowVauxhall’s all-new car dropped into London yesterday – literally. The Insignia, a new mid-sized model making its global debut at ExCeL, fell from the top of a crane into a park close to Tower Bridge.The car was suspended in a 4.7-metre diameter orb before being dropped 45 metres in just six seconds to a safe landing. Alain Visser, Chief Marketing Officer for GM Europe, then drove the Insignia onto the stage. He said afterwards - “We decided that an extraordinary car needed an extraordinary entrance, that’s why we chose to drop in at one of London’s most frequented and iconic locations.”The dramatic stunt was in similar style to the unveiling of Vauxhall’s Corsa at the 2006 London show, when the new car was flown up the Thames suspended under a helicopter. The Insignia will have a more conventional unveiling on stand S1 at 0900 today, at which time its UK pricing will be revealed.

British icons reveal new modelsTwo classic British names will be among more than 20 global debuts taking place in the ExCeL Halls today.At 1130 sports car manufacturer Lotus will launch its first all-new model in more than a decade. ‘Project Eagle’ is powered by a mid-mounted 3.5-litre V6 engine of over 270 horsepower. Mike Kimberley, CEO of Group Lotus plc, will reveal the model’s name after the unveiling on stand N5. He described the car as the first step in a five-year expansion plan: “Project Eagle is the biggest milestone Lotus has achieved since the Elise was born 13 years ago,” he said. Shortly after, at 12 noon, Bentley will take the wraps off a car it has dubbed the fastest saloon in the world. To be unveiled on stand N11, the 600bhp Bentley Continental Flying Spur Speed is bound to catch the attention of the world’s press. Bentley director Stuart McCullough is delighted the car is debuting in London. “Our British customers have played a key part in making this Bentley the most sought-after 12-cylinder luxury saloon in the world,” he said.

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