On the 11. September is it time again! The IAA 2019 opens its doors. But unlike the decades before, it is no longer a world-class fair. She is on her way to the regional league. You could justify that with the Volkswagen diesel scandal and a keen eye for the environmental problems. Maybe with the reassuring Stormwho will change the industry. But that would be too easy. Because the reasons lie deeper and go back many years.
Simply conquered to death?
The IAA 1993. Saab shows the new 900, Audi presents the new A8, Citroen the successor to the legendary BX series. In addition to the major manufacturers, the little ones also find their place at the leading European trade fair. Sports car legend Melkus is looking for a wider audience Hotzenblitz is decades ahead with its electric car for the city of time. The manufactory of Erich Bitter, a former Saab dealer, transforms vile Opel ware into the finest gourmet gourmet food.
In Frankfurt, the trade fair culture at that time still seems to be in order. For why does a predominantly male audience visit the IAA at all? There may be people who find a new VW Golf or an Astra exciting and therefore travel to the Main. Or a new 5er BMW. Presumably, they represent the vast majority of end users who torment through crowded halls and corridors every 2 year. But for quite a few visitors, the small, independent manufacturers are the real reason. The exotics that you do not see on every street corner, but that are so enormously important for the automotive culture.
However, the small providers disappear over the years. Saab, Lancia, Tatra, Melkus, Rover - and I also include MG, although the brand continues to exist as a Chinese undead. Instead, German manufacturers are continuing to expand their presence. If the available space does not meet the requirements and the vanity, then one builds a temporary hall for several millions. Frankfurt, once the stage of a diverse automotive culture, is increasingly becoming a navel gaze by German manufacturers, who seem to be barely able to walk with power.
With the absence of the little ones, the fair is always boring. I take my consequences and buy only one after-work ticket. The hours in the late afternoon are enough for a tour completely.
The SUV boredom
A few years later, I'm traveling with a friend who works for the BMW organization. The first X5 is on display at the Bavarian trade fair stand, which now exceeds the size of a sophisticated country estate. Not all at BMW seem so happy. Skepticism still prevails in the sales organization. BMW stands for the time for elegance and sportiness. The SUV is already a comparatively rough block. Will it be able to find customers in Europe? The doubts are inappropriate. The X5 is becoming a trendsetter and represents an unfortunate development that continues today.
SUVs dominate the streetscape, the segment is growing and growing. But who wants to go to the IAA for an SUV? The offers of the manufacturers are full of it, and the development possibilities of the vehicle concept are somehow limited in terms of design. A hood, a cabin. That was it.
No eye-catcher, no surprise, and nothing that would appeal to fine spirits. Instead of avant-garde from France, sophistication from Italy and innovation from Sweden, each packed with style, dominated with a few exceptions, a basically bland vehicle genre of the show. From resource consumption a catastrophe, dynamic and in terms of weight barely debatable, and against weaker road users in the truest sense of antisocial fits the genus SUV to 100% to the zeitgeist.
China Premier League. Frankfurt regional league.
The decisive reason for the decline of the IAA lies in China. Gone are the days when Chinese people had to make do with discarded European technology. The Chinese taste dictates the development of the industry, Europe is a maximum of third-rate. Premieres are being held today in Shanghai and Beijing. If a small piece of the plate of novelty remains, then Geneva comes to the train. A small, fine mass that has preserved its culture. The IAA 2019 is mainly a show for the German automotive industry, and the list of exhibitors for cars is depressingly short. 4 halls with new vehicles, plus a classic show that is supposed to prettify the trade fair concept. It cannot be a way into the future because it does not answer any of the open questions. The Germans also save a lot. Mercedes is reducing the area by 30%, and even more at BMW.
How do you want to get migrated manufacturers back to the Main in the future? They are increasingly relying on individual, regionally limited events and are looking for a close relationship with the customer via the Internet. The relationship between customer and manufacturer will become ever closer in the future, the time of the dinosaur fairs is over. Saab, you can be sure, 2019 would not be there. The Swedes had long been looking for their own way. By the way, Volvo, too. Gothenburg was one of the pioneers and set early on regional customer address and renounced the IAA.
One is not abstinent to 100%. The Polestar Performance AB, a Volvo daughter, shows presence with her electrified offer. A little Swedish individuality in the Regionalliga. After all.