The global collector car market gained a significant new player last week when MCH Group announced Grand Basel, which is billed as the "first global salon for the world's most important and valuable automobiles of the past, present and future." The first Grand Basel will be held in September, 2018 in Basel (Switzerland), with events expected to follow in Miami Beach (Florida) and Hong Kong in 2019.
Such claims by a company not previously involved in the collectible car industry might seem improbable, bordering on delusional, if the convener of Grand Basel was not also the company that stages the world-renowned ArtBasel and Baselworld (Watch and Jewelry) Shows.
Given MCH's remarkable success in exhibitions (now termed "live marketing") and the expertise it has demonstrated in curating extraordinary art and jewelry exhibitions for the global elite, it is fair to say that the collector car marketplace will be changed by this new approach.
The inaugural Grand Basel is to be held in September, 2018, but the company's sights are set much higher than just Europe. As it has done with Art Basel in replicating the Swiss event in Florida and Hong Kong, Grand Basel events are also planned in the same Miami (Florida) and Hong Kong venues and the press release hints that the additional three major annual collector car events each year will also include top tier car auctions.
Just as the world's leading elite automotive auction house, RM Auctions, and global auction house Sothebys found synergy in combining as RM-Sothebys to cross market to the world's Ultra High Net Worth Individuals (UHNWI), MCH Group already addresses a large proportion of the world's UHNWI audience via its art, watch and jewelry shows.
The environment at Grand Basel will be quite unlike anything experienced previously in the collector car world. MCH has indicated that it intends to operate in the space where cars meet art, with the statement, "for the first time, cars will be set and presented in the cultural context of design, architecture and art."
As with the company's art, watch and jewelry shows, booking exhibition space at Grand Basel won't simply be a case of paying the fees. An independent advisory board presides over exhibition selection and if the board doesn't believe an exhibit warrants a place in the show, it doesn't get it.
This exhibition selection format assures quality and relevance and has worked well for Art Basel, where an educated and discerning audience won't tolerate anything less than the best. Grand Basel has defined the audience profile it is targeting as "international connoisseurs, experts and collectors with the highest standards, as well as a general audience interested in automobile aesthetics, technological sophistication, arts and culture."
The press conference saw numerous well respected representatives from the automotive world on hand to champion the Grand Basel approach, including "Car Designer of the Century" Giorgetto Giugiaro and Andrea Zagato.
Also on hand was designer Rem D. Koolhaas, best known for his United Nude fashion brand, and the Lo Res Car he created as a promotional vehicle for the brand.
"Grand Basel will offer an entirely new perspective on the automobile," said René Kamm, chief executive officer of MCH Group. "The distinctly contemporary exhibition concept presents and discusses present and future automobiles within a sophisticated cultural context. With the architecture, support program and new types of digital applications, we want to convey the aesthetics and significance of the showcases on a fascinating quality level."
More details will be announced in early 2018.