After a stifling three-year hiatus, the Melbourne Nationwide 4×4 Present, one of many key client and business occasions for the Australian 4WD sector, got here again final August with an exhibition on the Royal Melbourne Showgrounds.
However regardless of nice shows, stable viewers attendance, and a various displaying of one of the best manufacturers and merchandise the Australian 4×4 aftermarket business has to supply, one thing was conspicuous by its absence: automotive manufacturers.
Held on the Melbourne Conference Centre within the metropolis for a few years, the Melbourne Nationwide 4×4 Present moved within the mid-2000s to the Showgrounds in Ascot Vale the place it ran yearly up till 2020, when the dreaded pandemic and Victoria’s ensuing lockdowns noticed it cancelled for 2 consecutive years.
Heralded for a few years as Australia’s greatest and finest 4×4 present, the occasion is now rivalled by the Brisbane Nationwide 4×4 present, run by the identical promoter, and the Perth 4WD and Journey Present put collectively by one other agency.
As such, the occasion is recurrently attended by the 4 pillars of the 4WD aftermarket business: ARB 4×4 Equipment, Ironman 4×4, TJM Tools, and Reverse Lock.
They’re supported by a variety of firms spanning the off-road, out of doors, tenting, and different ancillary industries.
Through the years we have now seen a weakening of the fishing and boating part, however the help garnered by the 4WD business has continued to diversify and strengthen, bringing the latest Melbourne present to the fore with a document variety of guests and sq. metres of show websites.
Whereas the present for a lot of is the top presentation and show discussion board for the aftermarket business, it has additionally been an vital launching level for producers, with quite a few manufacturers on show. But final 12 months there was a noticeable lack of producers current, with just one in attendance.
In a lonely corridor, positioned within the far north-west nook and fairly distant from the primary show halls, was a small inconspicuous show for Isuzu D-Max and MU-X.
On first thought, it was perceived that the producers had boycotted the present primarily based on the present 4WD automobile availability scarcity, the place huge demand and weak provide is pushing costs up and wait occasions means out on quite a few fashionable autos.
Why would any producer have to be current on the present? Persons are determined to get their palms on autos and, in terms of four-wheel drives, that desperation is reaching a fever pitch amongst extremely wanted manufacturers akin to Toyota. And, in that case, a lot so, that Toyota Australia has paused all orders on the favored 70 Sequence with document ranges of worldwide demand and, sadly for Toyota and customers, a world scarcity.
Isuzu ought to be credited for its persevering with help of the 4WD neighborhood and probably that’s one of many causes its gross sales are robust.
For my part, producers ought to be current at occasions like this to garner neighborhood confidence and model loyalty while instilling some confidence within the instructions of our new automobile business, significantly amidst the post-pandemic mess of car shortages, inflated costs, and the ups and downs of the EV scene.
So how did the dearth of car producers affect the occasion? For all intents and functions it didn’t, and for 2 predominant causes.
Firstly, there have been quite a few aftermarket stands that includes their newest equipment for key market-leading manufacturers with a specific deal with the brand new Ford Ranger and Toyota LandCruiser 300 Sequence. So guests had loads to ogle within the new class and there was additionally no scarcity of most different present champions such because the Y62 Nissan Patrol, Toyota LandCruiser 79 Sequence and the standard splattering of fashionable twin cab 4x4s.
Secondly, and as talked about above, contemplating the ridiculous present catastrophe of provide and demand, there isn’t any actual motive or want for them to be there.
But as bastions of the business and the central level of the booming 4×4 aftermarket accent enterprise, there’s a particular argument that they need to have been in attendance to help the neighborhood, strengthen their manufacturers and exhibit their dedication in direction of future progress, ongoing gross sales and diversification of the 4×4 business.
As a passionate 4WD fanatic, I’d have appreciated to see them there, garnering their help for our neighborhood and demonstrating a extra unified entrance as we exit an unheralded time interval of challenges led to by the pandemic. Let’s hope we see their return at future occasions!
Straight off the again of a profitable (and just lately returned to) Sydney Nationwide 4×4 Present, the latest Melbourne occasion has clearly signified a return to regular, and 2023 is about to be an enormous 12 months with Brisbane working in mid March and Sydney and Melbourne booked once more for later within the 12 months.
If you’re desirous about seeing the most recent fashions draped within the best equipment and prepared for any journey, then possibly we’ll see you at one in every of these occasions.