Motor show news update – 28 May 11am

28 May 2004 #SMMT News

  • Form an orderly queue for the SLR superstar supercar
  • Buyers increasingly Korea-conscious as Daewoo forges ahead
  • New format show gets a public thumbs up

Form an orderly queue for the SLR superstar supercar

One of the fastest and most sought after cars under the NEC spotlights is the 207mph £313,465 Mercedes SLR McLaren which is being hand built at a high-tech bespoke plant in Woking, Surrey.

While most of the visitors to the Sunday Times Motor Show live might fantasise about putting the carbon-fibre shelled supercar in their garages, even those with sufficient funds will have to form a plutocratic queue.

Such is the clamour for the Anglo-German thoroughbred that those willing and able to put down the required £25,000 deposit will have to order in late 2006 for an early 2007 delivery.

Potential buyers are believed to include Arsenal’s soccer superstar Thierry Henri, normally associated with promoting smaller Renaults.

Mercedes-Benz and their McLaren Formula 1 partners are committed to building 3,500 V8, 5.5-litre, turbocharged SLRs over seven years, but for those waiting in line the company has not ruled out extending the production run.

Asked why Mercedes had chosen the SLR as its sole representative at the NEC, Rob Halloway, Mercedes UK’s public relations’ manager, said: ‘We believe the motor show should be a celebration of the brightest, best and newest. This car combines the best of both worlds with German and British technological expertise.’

Asked for a list of patient celebrities and wealthy enthusiasts Holloway said: ‘We offer discretion as standard so we cannot name existing or potential customers.’

He claimed that while the lightweight slingshot would catapult from zero to 62mph it would also provide practical everyday transport and ‘immense’ braking power.

Buyers increasingly Korea-conscious as Daewoo forges ahead

GM Daewoo, vying with South Korean counterparts Kia, for leadership in the UK volume brand market share growth stakes, celebrated two years as a General Motors’ company with a second appearance at the show.

Rory Harvey, sales director for GM Daewoo, predicted that its sales for this year will be up by 60% by the end of May, to register a similar percentage share rise to Kia, and well ahead of Kia’s higher-volume Korean parent company, Hyundai.

He said: ‘We showed faith in the UK public by pulling out the stops to exhibit at the last NEC show and they have repaid us by buying and driving Daewoos in growing numbers.’

The Daewoo sales executive forecast that Daewoo would sell 20,000 cars this year before moving up to 26,000 units in 2005 as a growing number of new products come on stream.

Harvey said new products developed to embrace European tastes and an expanding network of dealers were the twin platforms for Daewoo growth.

During the first quarter of next year the company will bring a new Matiz supermini and the three-door Kalos to market followed by early 2006 when an SUV, sized between Land Rover’s Freelander and Discovery, arrives.

The un-named SUV has styling cues from the BMW X5, Audi A2 and Land Rover’s Freelander and will herald the introduction of Daewoo’s first and much-needed diesel engine .

Built in Korea under licence from Italy’s VM Motori, the 1.5-litre and 2-litre turbo diesels will permeate the range, except Matiz. Both the Matiz and SUV will debut at September’s Paris motor show.

Under the GM umbrella Daewoo’s retail network will grow to 100 centres by the end of this year with coverage stretching from Inverness to Cornwall.

Further down the road Nick Reilly, the Briton who runs Daewoo in Korea, hopes to unveil an ‘affordable’ two-seater sports car, to provide a ‘hero or halo’ product to elevate the brand and generate showroom traffic.

Reilly, former head of Vauxhall, describes Daewoo as the Tesco value for money brand of the motor industry.

New format show gets a public thumbs up

Visitors to The Sunday Times Motor Show Live public preview day gave resounding thumbs up to the new interactive format.

Debbie Watson from Solihull was delighted to have the chance to get behind the wheel of a Daihatsu Terios Sport at the Taster Test Drive. She said, ‘I’m in the market for a new car which is why I chose to come on preview day when the show is a little quieter. It was a real added bonus to be able to have a go in one of the cars I’ve got my eye on.’

At the BSM Driving School, where kids as young as 14 can get behind the wheel, Grandfather Robert Thompson from Birmingham enjoyed watching his 14 year old grandson Daniel as he took to the road for the first time. He commented, ‘I read about the driving school and thought it was a great idea. What an opportunity for young would be drivers! It’s been a great day out for the family and worth every penny’.

Lee Nicholls and Sue Worrall from West Midlands, who were two of the first through the door, were looking forward to the mix of cars and entertainment. Sue said, ‘I’ve brought my boyfriend here for his birthday today, he’s absolutely mad on cars. We’re looking forward to seeing the live action show and the Thunderbirds feature.’

Filter News

Update Newsletter