By on January 31, 2020

Frankfurt Auto Show 2016

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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17 Comments on “Frankfurt Auto Show No Longer in Frankfurt...”

  • avatar

    Electronic media has made people lazy with the attention span of goldfish. You look at a vehicle on line then you are plagued by advertising popping up on web sites and social media. Why go look at it in the flesh?

  • avatar

    Last year’s Frankfurt Motor Show was plagued with visitor harassment by hysterical teenage climate change warriors from ‘Friday For Future’ and ‘Extinction Rebellion’. They were quite physical and abusive in their methods as they stopped people dead in their tracks and demanded to know why they were interested in these ‘planet killing vehicles’. They also physically damaged certain vehicles, SUVs in particular received the most attention from these ‘activists.’

    Wherever this event will be hosted in the future, expect those crazies to show up there and ruin it for everyone.

    • 0 avatar

      Exactly. The modern eco movement has no shame.

      • 0 avatar

        They’re deranged zealots who lack critical thinking skills.

        • 0 avatar

          “They’re deranged zealots who lack critical thinking skills”

          That sentence gets applied to virtually any group that does not agree with the group making that claim.

          A large number of my son’s peers (16 – 18 yrs old) fear that there won’t be much of a world for them to inherit. Any young person has a legitimate concern. I do not condone violence or any form of intimidation. It just adds fuel to the fire and further entrenches both sides.

          • 0 avatar

            “That sentence gets applied to virtually any group that does not agree with the group making that claim.”

            sad, isn’t it? Their argument boils down to little more than “You think what *they* think? You should think for yourself and think what *we* think!”

    • 0 avatar

      Are there not law enforcement officers to prevent these escaped mental patients from mucking up everyone else’s good time?

      • 0 avatar


        When I first heard those reports and eventually saw the videos, I was asking myself that same question.

        In some videos the police apprehended the crazies, in other videos it can be seen that they just stood silently by. It seems the activists who somehow got inside the event into the various halls and physically damaged some vehicles were arrested, but those outside of the halls near the entrance sections were not stopped by the police.

        The German political ruling class has become very leftist, almost supportive of the ANTIFA and the climate extremists. You will not believe me when I tell you that the German government is quite frankly destroying the car industry of this nation.

  • avatar

    Car shows are bombing out now too.
    We are in the middle of peak car.

    Buy your V 8 Challengers now.

    Socialists will hate you.

    • 0 avatar

      There were no fxxxxxg auto shows in USSR, there was nothing to show there anyway. So yes, socialism helps in getting rid of auto shows and limiting access to personal transportation. I hope you make right choice and elect socialist in November.

      It was PIA to get eligible to buy a car during socialist regime but not motorcycles – you could buy bike in sporting good stores any time you wish and they were not expensive. Which I did when I was 18 years old as soon as I saved enough money. My dad though told me that he will not allow me to commit suicide, took bike away from garage and returned back to store.

  • avatar

    Auto shows are dying because:

    1) they’re incredibly expensive for the organizers
    2) they’re incredibly expensive for the exhibitors
    3) they don’t often have any measurable influence on sales
    4) it’s much cheaper for manufacturers to introduce vehicles at their own specific events, where and when they’re ready to do so
    5) the internet means a lot of people now get most of their information online, then go to a dealer.

    but go ahead and keep blaming socialists, millennials, snowflakes, Greta Thunberg, or whoever is your bogeyman today.

    • 0 avatar

      @JimZ – I’ve only attended one big motorcycle show. I enjoyed seeing all of the brands in one place. Some of the dealership reps present weren’t very bright. I found that rather off-putting. The factory reps were much more informed. I loved talking to riders. They offered the most honest appraisal of their favourite rides.
      I do agree with your comments though.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I don’t mind auto shows especially if you get the chance to sit in and look at vehicles that you are considering to buy. As for violent ecoterrorists I have not encountered them at the Cincinnati Auto Show but then Mark Twain said the following about Cincinnati: “When the end of the world comes, I want to be in Cincinnati because it’s always 20 years behind the times.” Maybe the ecoterrorists will show up at the Cincinnati Auto Show in 20 years.

    • 0 avatar

      You get less and less of a chance to actually sit in a vehicle, especially the high priced ones. People have had a habit of taking knobs and whatever else can be removed as souvenirs. If there’s a way to steal the buttons, they’ll find it. That’s why so many cars are roped off.

      Eventually, the car shows will get downsized to what they were originally – showcases for local dealers, rather than for manufacturers. It was the car makers who expanded them into national and international showcases. They did just fine with coordinating their own dealers for new model reveals that brought in local buyers.

  • avatar

    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.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    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.

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