Belfast Motor Show: After being parked for 12 years, event revs up
Petrol-heads are revving up for the return of a recession-busting motor show to Belfast for the first time in over a decade.
The cars will be the stars as thousands of fans are set to flock to Belfast Motor Show at the King's Hall this Saturday and Sunday.
Organisers believe the improving economic climate makes it a good time for high-performance engines to roar once more in Balmoral in south Belfast.
Kerrie Mann told the Belfast Telegraph while there used to be an Ulster Motor Show, she believed it was last held in 2002. She could only speculate on why there was a gap of 12 years, she believed it was because car manufacturers had cut back on shows during the recession.
She added: "We believe the time is right to hold our event this year. There is a gap in the market because Northern Ireland has a lot of interest in motoring and we will not just have cars, but bikes, vans, lorries, tractors and even caravans.
"We all know that the car sales industry in Northern Ireland has taken a hit over recent years. This is exactly the reason that the Belfast Motor Show is so important, and with the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders reporting a 9% rise on 2012, the time is now."
Ms Mann said it was time to "bring back some of the enthusiasm and excitement again".
"It's been years since the people of Belfast and Northern Ireland as a whole had a motor show to look forward to.
"For many the Motor Show was a not-to-be-missed event, a chance to see what's new and what's available and a must for the motoring enthusiast," she added.
Already 4,000 tickets have been sold and they are hopeful that at least 5,000 people will file through the doors between 10am and 6pm on both Saturday and Sunday. The Belfast Motor Show's website bills it as "a family-fun event aimed at igniting and reviving Northern Ireland's love for all things motor-related".
There will be a huge range of exhibitors from all over Ireland and the UK and a highlight will be one of the top 10 fastest cars in the world – a Noble600 British supercar, which retails at £300,000 and can hit speeds of 225mph.
Ms Mann added: "We are delighted and overwhelmed at the level of interest in the show to date.
"We have been working extremely hard to ensure we deliver an action-packed weekend with all aspects of motoring under one roof, including exhibitors from all aspects of the motoring industry, car and bike experts and enthusiasts, demonstrations, guest appearances, family fun, entertainment, stunts and so much more.
"The event is designed to be memorable for all ages and all motor-related interests; for the children there's a dedicated area which will offer education, interaction, fun with karting, giant games as well as bouncy castles, face-painting and more.
"For the big kids, there will are some real treats in store, including a Formula One challenge and simulators – to name but a few.
"We also want to ensure that the show provides businesses the perfect opportunity to showcase their products and services to a captive audience – and so far we have companies exhibiting from not only Northern Ireland but the mainland UK and the Republic," she said.
Do you know your Maserati from your Qashqai?
Nevin Farrell looks at five cars that we can all enjoy, from the ultra-expensive to the family-affordable
1. Noble M600
Price: An estimated £300,000
Profile: The Noble M600 is one of the fastest cars in existence. Hand-built in England, carbon-bodied, rare and exclusive, this luxurious car is super-light and with incredible power. It boasts an impressive power-to-weight ratio of 542bhp per tonne.
Top Speed: 225mph (estimated)
Acceleration: 0-120 mph: 8.9 seconds (Autocar)
Engine: Yamaha V8 4439cc
2. Maserati Quattroporte
Price: Estimated £110,000-plus
Profile: The sixth-generation Quattroporte was revealed at International Auto Show in Detroit in 2013
Top speed: 190mph
Acceleration: from 0 to 60mph in 4.7 seconds
Engine: Number of cylinders and layout V8 90°
Famous owners: Lindsay Lohan, Gwen Stefani, Cameron Diaz
3. Maserati Ghibli
Price: Estimated £50,000-plus
Profile: The Maserati Ghibli has been awarded two internationally recognised ratings for passive safety: five stars EuroNCAP rating and the Top safety pick
Top speed: 180mph
Acceleration: 0 to 60mph in five seconds
Engine: No of cylinders and layout V6 60°
4. Nissan Qashqai
Price: Estimated £18,000-plus
Profile: The Nissan Qashqai is economical, very classy inside and refined
It's one of the most practical small SUVs. It was also voted Car of the Year 2014
Top speed: 112mph
Acceleration: 0-60mph in 12.4 seconds
Engine: Fuel economy 74.3mpg
5. Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV
Price: Estimated £28,000-plus
Profile: It boasts 463 litres of cargo space, that's only 3% less than the standard Outlander
Top speed: 118mph
Acceleration: 0-62mph in 11.7 seconds
Engine: 2.2-litre, 16-valve inline four cylinder DOHC, turbocharged
For further information on Belfast Motor Show, including exhibitor and ticket information, visit belfastmotorshow.co.uk, call 07900 950632, or you can pay at the door