19 jan 19

2019 Brussels Motor Show: lots of bargains and a handful of premieres

Belgians love cars, in spite of traffic jams that grow like cancer, poor urban air quality and the fact that apart from Volvo and Audi, all major OEMs (Renault, Opel, Ford) have closed their factories in the country over the past two decades. This seemingly unconditional autophilia is demonstrated by the relatively high number of visitors that come to the Brussels Motor Show every year. Roughly one in 25 Belgians - some 450,000 on a total of 11.5 million - make the trip to the capital mid-January to come and see what's new.

Interestingly, one in three visitors has a firm intention to buy a car, convinced that the special discounts that come with the motor show equal bargain time. For the Belgian car importers, deals struck during the Brussels Motor Show represent up to 40% of their annual sales. Truth be told, all NSCs claim the special offers last until the end of January, only to announce on the first of February that they will 'exceptionally' be extended until the end of that month.

Not a premiere frenzy

Basically, the BMS is a trade show instead of a real motor show - and that has been its salvation. Many OEMs have been reconsidering their presence at motor shows across the globe, not least the ones on the Old continent because of changing customer behaviour and prohibitive investments with an ever more uncertain return. It's either Geneva, Frankfurt or Paris nowadays - if one of these at all. Volvo announced that it will be skipping Geneva this year, four years after having decided to cold-shoulder the IAA and the Mondial de l'Automobile.

Brussels being a sales platform rather than a show competing with the usual European suspects, OEMs are unlikely to turn their back to the European capital - certainly not as long as 40% of their annual turnover is at stake. Still - or perhaps thanks to the demise of other motor shows - Brussels is now getting its fair share of world premies and European firsts. Car manufacturers can be sure of one thing: in Brussels, their debutants do not have to share the spotlights and media coverage with 50 other newly launched products.

World premieres

  1. Range Rover Evoque
  2. Opel Zafira Life
  3. Ford Mondeo Clipper Hybrid
  4. Hyundai i40 (facelift)

European premieres

  1. Mazda 3
  2. Toyota Prius (facelift)
  3. Volvo S60
  4. Volvo V60 Cross Country
  5. BMW X7
  6. BMW 8 Series Cabriolet
  7. Porsche 911 (992)

Visit our picture gallery here.

The 2019 Brussels Motor Show runs from Saturday 19 January until Sunday 27 January included. More information can be found here.


Authored by: Dieter Quartier