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“The world’s most automobile show demonstrates that this is the industry of innovation. Around 1,100 exhibitors from 35 nations are unveiling 159 world premieres at the world’s most important motor show, the 65th IAA Cars. Only the IAA offers such a glittering display of innovations. It throws the window to the future of mobility wide open: the IAA’s key focuses of electric mobility and vehicle connectivity are setting two technological megatrends that will redefine the automobile and driving in the coming years. We are making mobility more efficient, safer, and more comfortable,” stressed Matthias Wissmann, President of the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA). He was speaking at the IAA’s opening ceremony in Frankfurt am Main. German Chancellor Angela Merkel opened the 65th IAA Cars in the presence of numerous high-ranking guests from the realms of politics, business and society.
No other motor show triggered such a great response from the media, Wissmann said. “More than 11,000 journalists from 100 countries are reporting on the IAA, and on the two Press Days alone the exhibitors held over 80 press conferences. No other motor show is as international as the IAA,” he emphasised. The proportion of foreign exhibitors has risen to 42 per cent, the proportion of exhibitors from Asia has doubled, and the number of Chinese exhibitors has actually increased ten-fold.
Addressing Chancellor Angela Merkel, the VDA president said, “Today you are opening the leading international exhibition on mobility. So you are firing the starting pistol for an IAA with a global reputation and which focuses the attention of the automotive world on Germany – from China to the United States, and from Brazil to South Korea. Here automotive fascination is more international than ever before.” Cars were much more than merely a mode of transport: “Cars have become a four-wheeled means of creating understanding between nations – and thus driving culture in the literal sense!”
This IAA was sending out a clear message: “Ours is the industry of ideas, the industry of innovation! Only a rolling stone gathers no moss. We are going with the megatrend of mobile communication. We are putting our foot down to accelerate on the autobahn of innovations,” Wissmann said, adding, “The vehicles recognise the traffic situation in real time. And the cars pass the information on – in a way they talk to one another. So drivers can react even if they do not yet perceive the danger themselves. The end of a traffic queue beyond the next curve, or bad weather conditions, are indicated in good time. And at intersections the number of accidents can be significantly reduced. This is a quantum jump for road safety!” Right at the end of this development, when automated driving has become a reality, cars could ultimately operate with zero accidents: “That which still looks like a vision today can be reality tomorrow. Every journey, even one into the automotive future, begins in first gear,” Wissmann underlined.
The VDA president pointed out that for a long time cars and smartphones had not been mutually exclusive, but instead complemented each other: “You often hear it said that young people are becoming less interested in the world of automobiles. Here on the trade show grounds we find the exact opposite!” While the general population is getting older all the time, the average age of visitors to the IAA is falling. The IAA App, the Connected Car Guide, and the digital IAA offerings are all extremely popular. The IAA Facebook page already has over 36,000 “likes.” Wissmann underscored, “Our schools’ campaign is also bursting at the seams: over 26,000 schoolchildren are turning the exhibition grounds into the largest classroom in the world. Some teachers would also like to have such interested, active and excited groups of children at school a bit more often. If one wanted to add automotive studies to the school curriculum, the courses would definitely be oversubscribed.”