The National 4×4 Show just ran in Brisbane. Was it a success or a flop?

    With retail markets in Australia feeling the strain of interest rates and as we start to see a return to normality after COVID, how is the Aussie automotive community responding?

    Over the weekend of March 15 to 17, the RNA Showgrounds came to life with the Brisbane National 4×4 Show. It’s one of three events held for the 4WD sector by ETF (Exhibitions and Trade Fairs).

    With Sydney and Melbourne to follow later in the year, this is one of the biggest events of its type in the country and the major expo for the South East Queensland off-road community and industry.

    The event sprawled across four halls, a number of open and covered outdoor areas and the main oval. Sites were well stocked and staffed, there were no large voids and the variety of products and companies on show was generally a healthy spread of the off-road automotive industry.

    A number of moving displays were dotted around the show and a variety of educational stages provided everything from basic recovery guidance to off-roading and towing tips.

    A crowd favourite and long-term show supporter, Isuzu Ute Australia, had a corporate stand backing onto the Isuzu Team D-Max stunt car show.

    “Exhibiting the latest Isuzu D-Max and MU-X models at the National 4×4 Outdoors Show isn’t just a chance for us to showcase two of Australia’s top-selling 4x4s, it’s an unique opportunity for us to bring the showroom to the enthusiasts, and get them inside the vehicles, to see and experience them firsthand,” said Isuzu Ute Australia PR manager Mark Harman.

    “The Iron Summit is a great example of what to expect, giving people an unrivalled experience as they drive up and over the world’s steepest mobile ramp at 45 degrees.

    “As one of the only vehicle brands on display and the only brand with a dedicated 4×4 training program, these 4×4 shows are incredibly important to us and we have been honoured to be part of the show for the past decade.”

    Ineos was again back showing its support and value for the off-road community. It had three vehicles on display but sadly not the highly anticipated Quartermaster, a dual-cab version of their Grenadier.

    There weren’t a lot of groundbreaking new products on display but there were a few surprises.

    There seemed to be more tyre brands and tyre resellers on display and noticeably there was a good presence for Yokohama who are now coming to market with a growing range of Geolandar tyres specifically for 4×4 enthusiasts.

    Australian management for Yokohama (a Japanese company) said the Japanese management were astounded by the local thirst for off-road tyres and that there was still plenty of potential to grow the brand locally.

    Outside, the main oval was almost entirely covered with caravans and this seems to be one of the key growth areas still within the off-road community. MDC Camper Trailers and Offroad Caravans made a triumphant return with a number of flagship new models on display that take off-grid adventures to a whole new level.

    Another big player, and comparative newcomer, Bushwakka Adventure Gear launched a misting awning that had punters hanging around to freshen up from the Queensland heat.

    One of the few non caravan brands also out on the oval was Carbon Offroad, a highly progressive company focussed on off-road recovery equipment.

    “This year’s Brisbane 4×4 show saw a solid turnout from vendors, reflecting the growing demand for outdoor and offroad products post-COVID,” said Carbon Offroad owner Dan Kozaris.

    “Carbon Offroad made its mark by exhibiting as a standalone brand for the first time, showcasing our high-quality, value-for-money winch and recovery products.

    “Our face-to-face interactions with enthusiasts were invaluable, allowing us to directly communicate the benefits of choosing Carbon Offroad.

    “And the success of the Brisbane show has led us to book space at both the upcoming Melbourne and Sydney shows, where we’ll continue to grow our presence and connect with even more offroad fans.”

    While there was no shortage of the large touring 4×4 trucks, there did seem to be more big-build American 4x4s that rivalled the number of Landcruiser 300s on display.

    Overall there was a notable reduction in visitors and cash and carry spending, as well as a clear lack of enterprising, innovative and jaw-dropping stands.

    This was all countered, however, by the number of big builds, big trucks and big tyres that demonstrated where the money was being spent and the industries faith and commitment within the retail sector.

    Based on that we will rate the National 4×4 Show in Brisbane as a success and a strong sign for the future of our off road automotive industry and community.

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    Simon Christie
    Simon Christie is the Off-road Editor at CarExpert.