Frankfurt Auto Show No Longer in Frankfurt

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
frankfurt auto show no longer in frankfurt

Verband der Automobilindustrie (VDA), the organizing body of Germany’s International Automobile Exhibition (IAA), has announced it will no longer hold its bi-annual trade show in Frankfurt. Last week, representatives from Berlin, Cologne, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Hanover, Munich and Stuttgart met with VDA to present their concepts for IAA 2021.

Frankfurt has already been taken out of the running, with the group saying the event would no longer take place at the Frankfurt am Main trade fair location after “evaluating all relevant criteria.” Despite being home to the show for decades, attendance has waned, encouraging VDA to examine its options.

Other trade events have undertaken similar changes in an effort to promote turnout amid growing public disinterest. Detroit managed to keep the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) from leaving town, shifting its timing from January to June. Officially, this was done to allow more opportunities for manufacturers to set up outdoor displays and on-road vehicle demonstrations.

But simply having it take place at a time when Michigan air isn’t bitingly cold is bound to encourage more people to turn up.

Detroit snagged 774,179 NAIAS attendees in 2019, whereas Frankfurt only managed to sell 550,000 tickets. Those numbers aren’t telling in themselves, but they do showcase a serious lapse in interest against previous years. In 2017, both sites reported attendance figures surpassing 800,000. That’s a significant drop for IAA, which was also undercut by environmental protests last September.

Automakers have also decided to spend less energy (and cash) at major trade shows in order host their own events — which can then be picked up and discussed online. Live events streamed over the internet and video game announcements are becoming just as valid a place to display a new model as anywhere else, affording automakers plenty of control over the debut. A mainstream model may be better suited to bow at a big trade event, but a higher-profile car could appear just about anywhere the company thinks a key demographic might be looking. As a result, event organizers are having to adjust.

Verband der Automobilindustrie did not say it had made any decisions regarding a new site for IAA 2021 beyond nixing Frankfurt. It did thank all the cities vying to play host, however, adding that the competition “only knows winners.”

From VDA (translated from German):

This decision was not an easy one for the VDA board of directors: the Main metropolis was the city of the IAA for almost 70 years; internationally, this became clear from the frequently used term ‘Frankfurt Motor Show’. The VDA thanks the city of Frankfurt and Messe Frankfurt for this long, very good and trusting partnership.

And overall, the Association of the Automotive Industry thanks all cities that participated in the competition for the IAA 2021 for their great commitment and the creativity of the ideas.

[Image: Image: Internationale Automobil-Ausstellung]

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2 of 17 comments
  • Hummer Hummer on Jan 31, 2020

    Auto shows are ending because over half of the market is similarly styled minivans with chicom engines, no one gets excited about that and no one goes out of their way for that.

  • Jeff S Jeff S on Feb 02, 2020

    The launching of new models was a big deal at one time but today not so much. Growing up I would want to see all the new models and couldn't wait to go to the car dealers to see them. Kids today are more interested in the latest smart phone and video game and have little interest in new model cars. Honestly if I were growing up today I would probably not be that interested in cars.

  • Tassos The Euro spec Taurus is the US spec Ford FUSION.Very few buyers care to see it here. FOrd has stopped making the Fusion long agoWake us when you have some interesting news to report.
  • Marvin Im a current owner of a 2012 Golf R 2 Door with 5 grand on the odometer . Fun car to drive ! It's my summer cruiser. 2006 GLI with 33,000 . The R can be money pit if service by the dealership. For both cars I deal with Foreign car specialist , non union shop but they know their stuff !!! From what I gather the newer R's 22,23' too many electronic controls on the screen, plus the 12 is the last of the of the trouble free ones and fun to drive no on screen electronics Maze !
  • VoGhost It's very odd to me to see so many commenters reflexively attack an American company like this. Maybe they will be able to find a job with BYD or Vinfast.
  • VoGhost I'm clearly in the minority here, but I think this is a smart move. Apple is getting very powerful, and has slowly been encroaching on the driving experience over the last decade. Companies like GM were on the verge of turning into mere hardware vendors to the Apple brand. "Is that a new car; what did you get?" "I don't remember. But it has the latest Apple OS, which is all I care about." Taking back the driving experience before it was too late might just be GM's smartest move in a while.
  • VoGhost Can someone Christian explain to me what this has to do with Jesus and bunnies?