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How to create a successful auto show from scratch? Interview with Nicolas Hesse

Nicolas Hesse
Nicolas Hesse

Nicolas Hesse created the first major auto show of Monaco – SIAM (Salon International de l’Automobile de Monaco), which was already held four times in the Principality. We talked to the ambitious co-founder of SIAM and learned how to create a successful auto show from scratch.



Why did you decide to go into the auto business?
My father was chairman of the Paris Motor Show. He taught me many things about this industry. After some years playing in a rock band in USA, I decided to work with him and work on the creation of a new kind of motor show here in Monaco.

How did you come up with the idea of creating a motor show for Monaco?

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The idea was quite spontaneous. During an official visit by the Prince of Monaco to the Paris Motor Show, we told him about the opportunity to create a special event in Monaco as nothing similar existed at this point. He liked the idea, gave us His High Patronage and we worked on it for a year.
The main difficulty when you create a new event is that you must convince industry players to take part in something that they had not planned nor budgeted for in a short space of time.
After this, it is all about creating a successful event that attracts enough visitors, buyers, media outlets, officials, influencers to make it worthwhile, especially given it was the first edition for the exhibitors and partners.

Monte Carlo was in fact the inspiration for this event


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Why did you choose Monte Carlo?

Monte Carlo was in fact the inspiration for this event. We have been asked by other countries to take it to them now, but it was tailor-made for Monaco. For the first edition, the show was spread in different areas in the Principality (Quai Albert Ier, Place du Palais Princier, Place du Casino, Grimaldi Forum). It was a great idea but difficult for logistics, so from the second edition we held the event on Quai Albert Ier.

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How does the Prince’s Government support SIAM? Why is this event important for the Principality?

The SIAM has the High Patronage of H.S.H. Prince Albert and the support of the Monaco Government Tourism and Convention Bureau. The show is important in three ways for Monaco. Firstly, it is a big public event so it is not only an annual meeting for Monaco’s citizens and residents, but also tourists to the Principality. Second, it brings together the great majority of the auto industry in Monaco for few days. Last but not least, as the main theme of the show has always been ecology, innovation, prestige, to showcase it in the context of the automobile is an important point for Monaco.

Why did you choose the theme of hybrid and electric cars this year?

The show has always been focused on ecology and innovation, but this year we wanted to take a real step forward and put this In the foreground. All the brands were involved and put forward their electric and hybrid cars. I think that it was the good moment [to do so] regarding the evolution of the industry. This year the market was more developed to be able to focus on these themes.

If your passion in the past was music, have you thought about inviting a musician to the event or collaborate somehow with the music industry?

We had many ideas to collaborate with big artists, organise concerts, for example, but they always stayed as ideas. I think that in future we will organise concerts. I really like rock bands like Guns N’ Roses or the Rolling Stones, for example, but bands like this would bring too many people, we would not have the place!

What are your plans now?
For the moment, we are evaluating the problems that coronavirus brought to the last edition. I think that we have already found the right model, so next we must add more on-site activities, still bring in more exhibitors, and enhance the beauty of the event.

Learn more about the Monaco International Motor Show 2020 in our video:

Interviewed by Nataliia Bezruk