IAA Mobility reflects technical and social upheaval

September 08, 2021 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
IAA Mobility reflects technical and social upheaval
The international automotive industry is currently facing a strong headwind. This refers not only to the ongoing chip shortage, but also to the political shifts in the requirements for sustainable mobility. The industry can do little about the former, but it can do something about the latter. At the IAA motor show, the industry is showing where it is heading for the next few years.

The change in Europe's most important motor show is already clear in its name: it is now called IAA Mobility. With this, the organisers - the industry association VDA and Messe München - want to emphasise that the focus is no longer on the car as a - preferably highly motorised - product, but on its purpose: mobility. In the shadow of the heated discussion about decarbonisation and sustainability in mobility as well, the trade fair organisers have then also included other vehicles than just cars in the exhibition programme - 70 bicycle manufacturers alone are represented in the halls of the Munich trade fair company. Numerous forums at the exhibition centre and throughout the city of Munich will discuss new transport concepts. And of the cars presented, not a single one is equipped with an internal combustion engine; the triumphant advance of electric drives is unmistakable. In addition, several left-wing and ecologically oriented action groups have put the IAA in their crosshairs and announced protests, including Greenpeace or an alliance with the meaningful name "Sand im Getriebe" (“sand in the gearbox”).  

In addition, the event, which is being held in Munich for the first time after a long period of successful events in Frankfurt, has apparently lost some of its reputation. Many foreign manufacturers turned their backs on the IAA, such as Stellantis with its Opel, Fiat and Peugeot brands. The Japanese OEMs were also absent. The organiser justified their cancellation in advance with the Corona pandemic.

The car industry in Germany is also struggling with considerable problems. Admittedly, the switch to electric mobility is progressing faster than was assumed some time ago. In terms of new registrations, for example, electric cars have recently already overtaken diesel engines, which were celebrated as a model of success a few years ago; soon they will also overtake combustion engines altogether. But car manufacturers are still suffering from supply bottlenecks for


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