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, the German manufacturers continue to expand their presence. If the available space does not meet the demands and vanity, then a temporary hall is built for several million. Frankfurt, once the stage for a diverse automotive culture, is becoming more and more of a navel examination for German manufacturers who seem to be barely able to walk with strength.
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 with a friend who works for the BMW organization. The first X5 is on the Bavarian stand, which is now larger than a glamorous country estate. Not everyone at BMW seems so happy about it. Skepticism still prevails in the sales organization. At the time, BMW stands for elegance and sportiness. The SUV is a comparatively rough block. Will it be able to find customers in Europe? The doubts are inappropriate. The X5 becomes a trendsetter and represents an unfortunate development that continues to this day.
SUVs dominate the streetscape, the segment is growing and growing. But who wants to go to the IAA because of an SUV? The offers of the manufacturers are full of it, and the development possibilities of the vehicle concept are 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 packaged with style, with a few exceptions a basically bland vehicle type dominates the show. In terms of resource consumption, a catastrophe, driving dynamics and weight hardly discussed, and compared to weaker road users in the best sense of the word anti-social, the SUV category fits 100% with the zeitgeist.
China Premier League. Frankfurt regional league.
The main reason for the relegation of the IAA lies in China. Gone are the days when the Chinese had to make do with discarded European technology. The Chinese taste dictates the development of the industry, Europe is at most third-rate. Premieres are taking place today in Shanghai and Beijing. If there is still a little something left over from the plate of innovations, then Geneva comes into play. A small, fine trade fair that has preserved its culture. The IAA 2019 is primarily a show for the German automotive industry and the exhibitor list for passenger cars is depressingly short. 4 halls with new vehicles, plus a classic show, which is intended to beautify the trade fair concept. It cannot be a way into the future because it does not answer any of the open questions. In addition, the Germans save enormously. Mercedes is reducing the area by 30%, and BMW should be even more.
How do you plan to bring migrated manufacturers back to the Main in the future? They rely more and more on individual, regionally limited events and seek rapport with the customer over the Internet. The customer - manufacturer relationship will become ever closer in the future, the time of the dinosaur fairs is over. Saab, you can be sure, would not be there in 2019 either. The Swedes had long been looking for their own way. By the way, Volvo too. Gothenburg was one of the pioneers and focused on addressing regional customers at an early stage and did without 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.