Coach and Bus UK show cancelled
The biennial NEC exhibition has been cancelled due to dwindling exhibitors, and no major coach manufacturer attending. Organisers have blamed issues in the industry post-pandemic including budget constraints and supply chain problems
In the face of rising vehicle manufacturer withdrawals and attendee concerns, the organisers behind Coach & Bus UK have announced the show, that was due to take place 8/9 November in Birmingham, has been cancelled.
Event Director at Diversified Communications, Helen Conway says: “It’s with heavy hearts that we announce that Coach & Bus UK will not take place as planned this November.
“This is not a decision we have taken lightly, and we understand the significance of the situation. For our exhibitors – who fund the show and rely on the increased business that it generates; for our visitors – who utilise the show to learn, to network, and to plan business developments, and to the wider coach and bus industry.
“We feel this decision is in the best interests of our exhibitors, partners and attendees, and that it is the right step to protect the long-term success of the industry’s premier meeting place.”
The decision has been driven by an unprecedented and exceptional combination of external factors. First, the many industry forces affecting new vehicle production that is impacting on manufacturers’ needs to exhibit this year. These include supply chain difficulties, full order books, significant business model changes and budget constraints following the pandemic.
“Second, is our responsibility to deliver returns for our exhibitors. A lack of vehicles at the show is likely to impact visitor footfall, and we don’t feel that is a risk we can take.
“Third, is meeting the expectations of our visitors, who have well-based preconceptions of the size and scale of the show from its long-standing history of success.
“We know that this will come as a disappointment to suppliers, operators, and the wider coach and bus community who were looking forward to attending. ‘The show must go on’ is in our DNA, and this is the first time that we won’t be providing an annual industry trade show outside of the pandemic. However, by taking this decision, we can focus on delivering a brilliant Euro Bus Expo in 2024, that represents the full breadth of the sector.”
Reactions from the industry
Responses from show stakeholders illustrate the communal disappointment about the cancellation, but also affirm strong support and optimism for future events.
Graham Vidler, CEO of the industry trade body and show partner, the Confederation of Passenger Transport UK (CPT) says: “I know our colleagues at Diversified Communications have thought long and hard about cancelling this year’s Coach & Bus UK. It’s the right decision, as it gives manufacturers and suppliers the space to adapt to current market challenges. We look forward to a bigger and better showcase for the industry next year.”
Simon Collins, UK Coach Sales Manager at Pelican Bus and Coach says: “We respect the organiser’s decision after reflecting on the industry as a whole and appreciate that they are adapting to the needs of the industry. We will undoubtedly be exhibiting at next year’s event.”
Steve Low, Managing Director at Mistral says: “Mistral has been an enthusiastic supporter of Coach & Bus UK over the years, seeing it as a great opportunity to meet our customers and the wider industry in a different more relaxed environment. It’s a shame that this year’s show is unable to go ahead, which reflects the difficult position that the wider economy finds itself in at the moment. We look forward to participating in next year’s show and playing our part in getting the industry back together.”
Says David Hull, Associate Director at Wrightsure: “It is unfortunate, but understandable that this year’s show has been cancelled. The events are important to our business, so we are committed to exhibiting in 2024.”
Says Claire Phillips, Sales Director at Alfatronix Ltd: “I am sorry to hear of the cancellation. It’s imperative to have a meeting place for industry colleagues to come together – to showcase their latest product innovation to prospective customers, or simply to have a coffee with an old friend. It is rare we can all be together in the same place at the same time. Personally, it’s an event I look forward to. Thank you to the organising team for their efforts in advance of regrettably cancelling the show as the only option.”
Says Penny Moore, PHVC’s Sales Support Manager: “As a longstanding supporter and customer, we always look forward to the annual showcase. Whilst we completely understand the reasons behind this decision, it’s sad to hear the news.
Penny continues: “We do recognise the challenges faced by our industry over the last few years since the pandemic. But it is still crucial to also recognise the resilience and adaptability that we have shown, and the dedication to maintain as much satisfaction for our customers as possible. We are confident that we will all bounce back stronger than ever before and extend our support and understanding to the show organisers. We eagerly await next year’s event, and until then continue to navigate these challenging waters, until we emerge victorious.”
Mark Williams, Group Editor at Bus & Coach Buyer, said: “The cancellation of the show saddens us all; it is a great opportunity for the industry to come together. But the difficulties the organisers cite are among many factors – including the international nature of today’s coach and bus business – which have made it a tough call.
“The huge Busworld exhibition in Brussels a few weeks earlier has doubtless absorbed much of the available marketing budget for many of our manufacturers this year. But I know the organisers – who we regard as our trade press colleagues – will redouble efforts to make Euro Bus Expo 2024 one of the best exhibitions in Europe, and like them, we are looking forward to it.”
2024 showcase to be ‘full-scale, bigger and better’
Event Director, Helen Conway adds: “We know these circumstances are temporary and are absolutely confident the industry will bounce back. Though this year’s event will no longer take place, we continue to strive towards our purpose – to connect the industry and support its growth. We’ll be back doing what we do best in 2024.
“In the meantime, we’re consulting with manufacturers, suppliers, and visitors about future developments, and are looking forward to hosting a full-scale, bigger and better exhibition next year, that will be a true representation of the sector.
“We’ll share the details of our plans soon. In the meantime, we look forward to seeing the industry out in force at the routeone Awards this November. Based on the number of entries we’ve received it’s shaping up to be an excellent event, with exceptional turnout.”
Save the date for next year’s exhibition
Operators, suppliers and industry professionals are urged to save the date for next year’s best opportunity to come together, learn, strategise, and discover what’s new and next in the sector; Euro Bus Expo is from 12-14 November 2024.