Auto Salon 2022 will go ahead after all

Belgium’s Auto Salon will go ahead as usual in January, according to sources close to the organisation. The planned dates are 14 to 23 January.

The announcement comes after a week of uncertainty when the very existence of the Salon seemed to be in jeopardy. The 2022 edition is to be the first time back to normal after two years of pandemic restrictions.

The problem was that some major car companies were doubtful they would attend, and some were sure they would not.

In June, Volvo said it would not be taking part. Now, according to reporting by De Tijd, the major distributor D’Ieteren, which handles Volkswagen, Audi, Skoda, Seat and Porsche, has also withdrawn.

That would have been enough to torpedo the Salon altogether if others had followed their lead, industry federation Febiac said earlier this week.

All eyes were on the Stellantis group, which handles Fiat, Peugeot, Citroën, Opel, DS, Jeep, Alfa Romeo and Maserati. If they had gone down as well, the Salon had no chance of survival.

A final decision is expected from exhibitors at 1 PM today, but reports say enough assurances have been given to allow the Salon to proceed.

But time is short. Normally stands are booked in the spring and the campaign is worked on over the summer. It is now September and not much time remains for preparations.

The Auto Salon, which takes place at the Heysel every January (pandemic permitting), is the largest commercial fair in the country, attracting 400,000-500,000 visitors. The event gives a huge boost to the car trade inside the hall and out, as independent dealers rush to offer Salon terms on their vehicles.

It also provides a mass influx of revenue to the media, with newspapers, magazines and TV broadcasts stuffed with even more car advertisements than usual.

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