TURIN -- Fiat said it will not take part in Italy's only annual car show next year, dealing a further blow to the event that was cancelled this year due to a lack of exhibitors in a moribund local market.
Organizers are moving the venue of the country's auto show to Milan from Bologna next year in the hope of sparking fresh interest. The event, called the Milano Auto Show, will run from Dec. 11-21, 2014.
Fiat said the Geneva, Frankfurt and Paris shows are sufficient for automakers to showcase their products to the public and media.
"We do not believe conditions exist to create a new show. Market problems in the last years have led to the closure of important shows in big European cities," Fiat said on Friday.
Fiat has a market share of about 30 percent in Italy. Italian car sales will almost halve to below 1.3 million units this year from a 2.5 million peak in 2007, so automakers have little incentive to spend the money to show new products to a public that's not buying.
The Milan show will be organized by Promotor, the same group that ran the Bologna event. "We will start to contact potential exhibitors today," Promotor Chairman Alfredo Cazzola said on Friday. "Right now we aren't able to say how many we will have."
After Fiat released its statement, Cazzola was quoted by Italian daily La Repubblica as saying that "Fiat's business is to build cars, not to organize shows." He told the paper he is convinced that Fiat will reconsider its position after it is shown the project for the Milano show.
Car companies spend at least 1 million euros per brand on a stand at a major international car show such as the ones held in Detroit, Paris, Geneva and Frankfurt. Audi was reported to have spent 40 million euros to deck out its stand and other locations at the Frankfurt show in September.
The Frankfurt show had 1,000 exhibitors this year, whereas Bologna last year had 133.
Reuters contributed to this report