No go on Vic expo

Bus industry suppliers are unifying in support of just one expo a year, leaving Victoria out for 2014

No go on Vic expo
No go on Vic expo

By David Goeldner | August 28, 2013

It’s now ‘official’ – leading bus industry suppliers will not be supporting a Victorian bus exhibition if one were to be held as scheduled in 2014.

A letter was circulated by Bus Industry Confederation Suppliers Committee Chairman Steve Heanes to suppliers and state association executive directors early in August canvassing support for the move to hold just one national bus trade show a year.

So far 35 suppliers have agreed not to participate in any bus industry expo in Australia until the end of 2014 other than the two shows ratified by BIC, being the Australian Bus and Coach Show in Sydney, this September 25-26, and the joint Queensland Bus Industry Council-BIC Conference and Expo on the Gold Coast from September 28 to October 1, 2014.

It means if the Bus Association of Victoria (BusVic) holds an expo with its annual maintenance conference in July 2014, the signatories to the BIC agreement would not attend as exhibitors.

"The key thing is we are in an industry that sells 1300 to 1500 new vehicles a year versus a truck market that sells 32,000 – and we have twice as many events as the truck market," Heanes says, calculating the returns on investment by suppliers to attend more than one bus industry trade show a year ‘aren’t there’.

The letter was circulated almost immediately after the recent BusVic Maintenance Conference and Bus Expo, after which several suppliers approached Heanes as BIC Suppliers Committee Chairman to draft the letter and form a unified agreement on show frequency and attendance.

"It’s not one or two people ‘stirring the pot’," says Heanes.

"This is industry-wide and what they want."

Heanes is aware the agreement impacts upon the prospect of a bus expo in Victoria going ahead.

"We have said if they (BusVic) want to run an annual conference then that’s fine, but there will be no exhibition," he says.

Heanes believes there would still be scope for annual conferencing to continue in each state, including Victoria, with conferences on operator’s contracts, and a continuation of technical workshops for bus maintenance and engineering.

"If (BusVic) wants to go ahead with the conference, the consensus from suppliers is they won’t exhibit," says Heanes.

"We want to come up with something that represents the industry as a whole – it’s not a boy’s club. We want to focus on the industry.

"And it’s unique to have suppliers and operators together as one group delivering one message."

Heanes says the next stage is to set a schedule for coming years, and to form a clear path forward, which will likely be discussed at BIC’s November meeting of state associations and suppliers.

"We are happy to form a show committee," he says.

But Heanes says the move to rationalise the number of expos is not intended to ‘wreck’ state associations.

"We firmly believe as suppliers there is a need for state associations," he says.

Suppliers signing the BIC Suppliers Committee agreement are:

APN Outdoor, Asia Motors, BCI, Bustech, Chiron, Coachair, Coachworks, Cooltek, Cummins, Custom Coaches, Denning, Denso, Express Coaches, Frys Spares, Heritage Group, Higer, Hino, HVA - King Long, Irizar, Iveco, MAN, McConnell Seats, Mobitec/Thoreb, O'Briens, Parts Supply, QTK Group, Reatex, Scania Australia, SMC Pneumatics, Spheros Australia, Styleride, TRACS, Volgren, Volvo Bus Australia, and ZF.

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