How car fairs steer in Germany

How car fairs steer in Germany

Pierluigi Mennitti's insight from Berlin on the changes taking place in auto fairs

The car crisis has been reflected in that of trade fairs all over the world, and the chain of cancellations due to the pandemic has added to the meager numbers of recent years. In Germany, where the automotive industry still represents the most important segment today and employs more than 800,000 workers among car brands and related industries, the decline of the IAA , known as the Frankfurt Fair, has gone hand in hand with the obfuscation of image of German brands following the diesel emissions scandal. The decline in visitors has become a collapse and the organizers have decided to take the bull by the horns: to end the long season on the Main and opt for a radical change. A new concept of event and a new venue.


From the auto fair to an event that aims to boost research for solutions for sustainable mobility . And left Frankfurt, the streamlined and modernized IAA bandwagon moves to Munich, Bavaria which, alongside historical names of the automotive industry such as BMW and Audi, hides its modern high-tech heart in hundreds of small and medium-sized technological companies.

In recent days, the concept that will animate the first edition on the banks of the Isar was presented, which – pandemic returns permitting – will open on September 7, 2021. The IAA will become an appointment between fair, conferences and happenings, as explained by Hildegard Müller, president of the association of auto industrialists Vda (Verband der Automobilindustrie), no longer concentrated only in the closed halls of the fair itself but widespread in the city: an appointment not confined to professionals but open to citizen participation. If visitors no longer go to the fair, which is the main reason why the entire organization has closed its glorious but long-lost Francoportese experience, the fair will go to the citizens (who are then potential customers).


In the exhibition area east of Munich, the endless spaces that characterized the event in Frankfurt will no longer be reserved for exhibitors, but the entire event will take place in a more compact area. Manufacturers and suppliers will not exhibit competing models in a classical way with their individual stands, as still generally happens in all fairs in any sector, but will only present the most recent technological ideas. Space therefore for innovation. And instead of presenting the models, there will be conferences and round tables to discuss the issues of the great and difficult transition that the entire automotive sector is experiencing. Today, there is more need to discuss, exchange ideas and compare projects than to show off the entire car park for sale. Especially since for some time, following the models of technology houses such as Apple, the manufacturers presented the new cars on special shows, with the consequence that at the fair there were now vehicles that the general public had already seen, eliminating the surprise effect .


But what will take place in the closed halls of the fair is only part of the new IAA. The most interesting novelty is the idea of ​​involving the whole city in the event and opening the squares of the historic center of Munich, one of the most intact historic cities in Germany in a sort of live experience of the future. Tradition and innovation. The "Open Space" part of the Motor Show will take possession of the squares torn from daily traffic to present the most innovative solutions in terms of new mobility. The spaces in which the event goers will be able to see and directly experience the innovations that the automotive industry as a whole will be able to present for the improvement of sustainable and low-emission mobility. It will therefore not only be the land of the car, but also of bicycles and electric scooters, of self-driving experimental vehicles, of public transport which in future projects will increasingly integrate private traffic, especially in cities. It will be here, the organizers hope, that the first flying taxis will be shown in the future.

In Germany, the fair model of involvement of the host city has been operating successfully for some years with the Leipzig Book Fair, not surprisingly a more engaging event (albeit smaller) than the largest and best known Buchmesse in Frankfurt. Munich's hope is to repeat with the car what has succeeded in Leipzig with publishing.


A third reality involved will be the 10-kilometer road artery linking the center of Munich to the fair site. This road, renamed Blue Lane, will be reserved for the transport of operators and visitors to the fairgrounds and vice versa, which will be organized with low-emission vehicles and occupied by at least two people. A sort of shuttle demonstrating sustainable mobility. To tell the truth, it seems the least interesting initiative, but like all new ideas it will be necessary to see how it will be developed and if it will manage to find its meaning within the whole concept.


We will therefore turn the page on the gigantism of the Frankfurt years. In addition to the physical reduction of the spaces at the fair, the entire duration of the Munich edition will be reduced by more than half, going from 15 to 6 days, A challenge however, given the moment that the whole sector is going through, which adds up to the devastating impact caused by the pandemic to the car crisis engaged in a complex transition phase. The manufacturing CSAs are saving money, while many supplier companies find themselves even fighting for their survival. One of the competing events, the Geneva Motor Show, has already announced the cancellation of the 2021 edition, after the covid-19 had blown up this year. In Munich they say they are optimistic that they can involve not only German but also foreign manufacturers. There will be a desire to start again and to face with greater confidence the path of innovation to which the whole sector is called to have a future.

This is a machine translation from Italian language of a post published on Start Magazine at the URL on Sat, 11 Jul 2020 05:08:30 +0000.