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.
A Lot of People Were Protesting Cars in Germany Over the Weekend, but SUVs Received Special Attention
Thousands of people amassed in Germany over the weekend to protest the automotive industry. Ground Zero was in Frankfurt, with an estimated 15,000-25,000 people marching past the Frankfurt Motor Show holding signs condemning the internal combustion motor and promoting environmental awareness. Dozens of people also made it onto the trade show to demand the event be shut down or reformatted to focus entirely on eco-friendly transportation.
Sport-utility vehicles and crossovers were also a focal point of activist ire. Many called for their banishment from German cities after four pedestrians, including a three-year-old boy, were fatally struck by a Porsche Macan earlier this month in Berlin. However, the segment’s slightly higher dependance upon fuel was also a sore spot for many activists.
“Such tank-like cars do not belong in cities,” Stephan von Dassel, Green politician, bicycle enthusiast, and mayor of Berlin’s Mitte district, tweeted in German. “They are ‘climate killers’, even without accidents, every driving error becomes a life-threatening danger for innocent people.”
While automotive trade shows are likely to persist as a way of showing off major manufacturers’ freshest fleets, they’re losing relevance. Automakers continue to option smaller, less trade-focused events, while the big shows are giving ground to the likes of CES. The most recent example involves nine brands that have decided to forego next month’s International Motor Show in Frankfurt, Germany.
Alfa Romeo, Fiat, Nissan, Infiniti, Jeep, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Peugeot, DS, and Volvo, have all decided not to attend the IAA for 2017. Ian Fletcher, principal analyst for IHS Markit, claims automakers feel it’s becoming increasingly difficult to justify spending the colossal fees associated with taking part in a major auto show when they measure that investment against the perceived effect on sales.
“I would question what the translation rate is between attendance on public days to transactions,” he said. “I bet most customers now are happier to do research online.”
Frankfurt is the real deal when it comes to trade events. Germany’s International Motor Show is the oldest and, frequently, the largest exhibition of new vehicles and automotive engineering on the planet. However, some important automakers are deciding not to bother with it this year.
The event’s organizer, Germany’s VDA industry association, has confirmed that several automakers have cancelled on the Internationale Automobil-Ausstellung in September 2017. While there will still be over 50 individual brands from Europe, Asia, and the United States, a few of the heavier hitters are following the trend of taking their marketing money off the floor and rerouting it back into digital advertising.
While it may or may not be the next-generation Mercedes-Benz CLS-class (note: probably not), the automaker took the wraps off a transforming concept car that grows in length significantly at highway speeds to better cut through air.
The Mercedes-Benz IAA concept (Intelligent Aerodynamic Automobile) was shown off Tuesday in Frankfurt and, according to the automaker, can grow by 390 millimeters to achieve a drag coefficient world record of 0.19. (The current generation Prius is around 0.25, for reference.)
The whole thing is powered by a hybrid powertrain that’ll never see the light of day and sports an interior array of electronics that’s probably something out of “Minority Report.” It’s the moveable aerodynamic elements on the IAA that could see production, and there are a lot of them.
Hyundai has a new and extremely successful spokesman. He is well-known, he can speak about cars with more authority than a football player. Best of all: He works pro bono. It is Volkswagen’s CEO Martin Winterkorn. With a low-cost video, Winterkorn catapulted Hyundai’s image to formerly unknown heights.
The German magazine Wirtschaftswoche reports that the image of Hyundai took a leap a few days after Martin Winterkorn walked over to the Hyundai stand at the Frankfurt motor show and praised the non-rattling steering column.
Volkswagen may show the car for lonesome commuter – Audi won’t have that. They have a concept for a single that has a girlfriend. They call it the “1+1-seat, ultra-light car for congested urban spaces.” I don’t know how a car that barely seats two will alleviate urban congestion, but I’m sure Audi will have an answer. For now, “the Audi urban concept combines elements of a racing car, a fun car and an urban car into one radical new concept.” There are two: A Sportback model, and a Spyder.
“Frankfurt in September, a city full of car crazy people from all over Europe, but no Saab at the IAA. However, few will notice it. “ So far, so true. Saabsunited reports that Saab will NOT have a booth at the Frankfurt Auto Show. Which is a good thing, because the cost saved for a decent display at the IAA can easily cover a good part of the monthly payroll at Saab. Currently, there is no money for the payroll – which has turned into a bit of a tradition at the storied Swedish carmaker. If I’d have the money just for the hyperinflated hotel rooms for a whole crew, I could retire comfortably. It’s THAT expensive. However, Saab has not given up on Frankfurt. Which is a bad thing.
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