With a bit of luck, the last IAA without Saab participation was in 2013. In Sweden, the signs are on the move, and in 2015 you could be involved again after two missed trade fairs. Even without Saab, we strolled through the IAA - somehow homeless. With one exception, there was no real enthusiasm. And somehow there was no real trend this time. However, I noticed four topics this year. Here we go!
Theme 1: electric car.
If you park your Saab in the Rebstock multi-storey car park, the Park & Ride bus will inevitably spit you out in front of the BMW hall. Whether you like it or not ... you visit the Munich car maker. A clever move that could also explain why Bayern went the maximum distance to Ingolstadt and Stuttgart. Spatially speaking.
BMW is all about electromobility. The production version of the i3 is there and doesn't look much different from the study. It hasn't turned out to be a really nice car, at least not one that has the “Who-will-reflex”Triggers. The i3 is a mix of "I'll do something completely new" and "I have to look like an electric car". Which raises the question of why a mid-range scooter should always look different. If NEVS brings the Elektro 9-3, it will carry the body of the conventional variants, perhaps with small design variations. I now find this type of electromobility to be the more visually appealing.
The fact that BMW can still be beautiful can be seen on the i8 sports car, which comes with the 2014. Really exciting design in the best Munich tradition, despite the battery under the hood. But the i8 is also more in the direction of Fisker, and not just him. In the interior of the i3 BMW also plays the Fisker story. The brand Fisker even knocked, if it is not still saved in the last second, just at the gates of Wallhall.
That's a pity, because Fisker showed us that electric cars can cause heart palpitations and brought new ideas into the interior. Ethically flawless materials, such as open-pored wood, which does not come from plantations, but from deadwood stocks. BMW is doing just that now. Against hefty surcharge. But have invented the other.
Will the electric car be a trend? Maybe BMW pushes vigorously, in two years we will know more. Because the exhibition vehicles were tightly relocated, here draws clearly the radiance of the brand BMW. But in other halls, for example at Chevrolet or Opel, hardly anyone was interested in battery cars.
Theme 2: The Chinese.
The IAA is the leading trade fair for the automotive industry. Amazing that newcomer Quoros was not there. In Geneva, a European premiere was celebrated, since then it has become quiet about the Israeli-Chinese joint venture. Is it weakening? Here, as two years ago, was the only representative of the People's Republic of the manufacturer Changan. Not that we should remember the name. We can forget the SUVs and the limousines right after the article.
The slogan of the manufacturer “Changan drives the World” shows how you see yourself. But at least two things stand out. For one thing, the Chinese have made great strides in design. Even if the interior of a Changan is still reminiscent of a crude mixture of Dacia design and 80s Japanese style. Which is one thing.
Another is the obvious gap between Qoros and Changan. The former could achieve respect as a product in Europe. The latter is only suitable for emerging markets. Which shows us that the state-directed industrial policy still fails, as it has done for years, in the mass of 100 manufacturers. A unified leadership, which has brought Asian nations such as Korea and Japan in the auto industry to the front, is still not visible.
Theme 3: the studies.
Studies are often shown, if you currently have nothing to show. Some are realistic and anticipate the series, others only show disorientation. Jaguar shows with the C-X17 the first SUV study of the brand, quite realistic background. Although on the platform shown, a mid-size Jaguar will come first, which could chase away Audi A4 and 3er BMW market shares. But then there's the first SUV of the big cat. Which will not be a difficult exercise. Because best DNA is on the shelf with daughter Landrover. You just have to access.
At Subaru you could marvel at the WRX concept. WRX - these three letters are already legend. Older Subarus of this series have a firm, committed fan base in Germany, and the fast boxes are cult. Hardly a Japanese man has achieved what Subaru has worked for. The study provides an outlook on what's to come. Wider and flatter than before, of course with a boxer engine and turbocharging. Subaru fans can be happy!
Opel was the Monza Concept on the stand. The name comes from a long-dormant Opel upper-class coupe, the reference to reality is zero. The design language of Opel is thus continued, the cooler cited elements of the Opel Adam. Of course, the gullwing is not in series, and I dare say that there will never again be a luxury class coupe from Rüsselsheim. Opel still loses market share, even if some models sell well. The biggest problem with Opel is precisely the brand name, which suffered many years of negative press and is badly damaged. A statement by the way not from me, but from an interview of the Opel boss seized.
The study will, as we are accustomed as Saab fans from the GM era, eventually land in the Opel Fundus, and thus their story is at an end. Incidentally, the wheels of the Monza Concept car look so damned like the rims of various Saab studies. Again, no new ideas at Opel, but reinterpreted turbine design.
Theme 4: The Italians.
I have such a small weakness for Italian cars. The last Italian in my possession was an Alfa GTV with the magnificent V6 engine. The sound burns somewhere in the memory, and a little Alfa passion is still in me. All the more sad is a visit to the Italian hall. This is only full at first glance, because the visitors are Maserati and Ferrari owed. The sports cars attract and a picture together with a vehicle from Maranello is worthwhile.
Otherwise, it looks scary. There's Lancia, a big brand you just can not kill. The Lancia stand is so rarely visited that we could spread a blanket and have a Swedish picnic there. It would not have disturbed anyone, and maybe the staff would have been happy about our visit. Lancia-branded American Chrysler mass-produced items are of no interest to anyone who suffers from the brand and my heart for these cars.
Alfa dies in beauty - or is it coming back? Not only are fewer and fewer models felt at Alfa Romeo. The Alfa 159 is no longer, we don't even want to talk about large vehicles like a 166. Like the Spider, it has long been beyond the car dreams. Only the fabulous 4c, which so excited me in Geneva, gives me hope. Deliveries are scheduled to begin in October, but there will only be 3.500 copies a year. Nevertheless, we keep our fingers crossed for the Milan brand!
And Fiat? Fiat is small car. The driving force is the 500, and Fiat openly admits that it wants to hibernate with it until the European car crisis is over. Because crisis is real! At all stands, efforts were made aggressively to attract customers, which was not always the case in Frankfurt. Let's hope that the crisis will pass and that nobody in Italy forgets to switch to comeback fashion. Otherwise we won't even see small cars anymore.
What did I really like about the IAA 2013? My only highlight came, how should it be different, from Sweden. Inevitably this time from Gothenburg. I'll write about that in the next article.