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‘IAA’ Auto Show Frankfurt: Past and Future Competing

Every two years, the auto industry heads to Frankfurt, where the IAA serves as a trade fair for cars, a contact exchange within the auto industry, and a haven for dreams on wheels. Now the event is also about “new mobility”.

What the German car manufacturers are selling as “new mobility” could have been started decades ago, when a lot of today’s know-how was already available. Tesla and the nervous discussion about climate change finally made it happen.

Volkswagen’s ‘Revolution’

Germany’s largest car manufacturer, Volkswagen, loves the word ‘revolution’. This is what they are calling the ‘ID.3’. Jochen Tekotte, a Volkswagen spokesman, told The Berlin Spectator it was the brand’s third revolution, after the Beetle and the Golf.

Celebrated as one of the most important exhibits at the 2019 edition of the IAA, the ‘ID.3’ is VW’s first vehicles designed for the purpose of being propelled by electric engines only. This kind of approach has advantages. For instance, vehicles of this kind will typically be lighter. And they will have more room, since there is no transmission which would eat up a lot of it.

VW is selling the ‘ID.3’ as a “revolution”. Photo: Imanuel Marcus

So far, the ‘e-Golf’ was available. It is a conventional vehicle converted to an electric one. Other brands have tried this approach as well. Now, the ‘ID.3’ will not just be a car of its own, but it will also provide the base for the next Golf, meaning they are reversing their approach, in a way.

From A to B with 808 HP

In a huge IAA pavilion in Frankfurt, the Volkswagen Group, which includes Porsche, Audi, Seat, Škoda, Bugatti, Bentley and even Lamborghini, is also exhibiting pretty much the exact opposite of green cars. A good example is the new Lamborghini Sián. Its 808 hp V12 engine will take two people from A to B. But it will do so while sucking gasoline like hell.

Greta Thunberg and other environmentalists do have a lot of influence these days, but definitely not on super car makers like Lamborghini. McLaren is one of those too. In Frankfurt, they are showing off their latest sensation, the 600LT. Just like the Lamborghini Sián, its fuel efficiency class is ‘G’, the worst one of them all. The car is pretty though. And lightning fast.

Stunning, beautiful, unique, and a gasoline-sucker: The new Lamborghini Sián. Photo: Imanuel Marcus

But, as it turns out, customers with deep pockets can have both performance and the “revolution” VW is talking about in one single car, back at the Volkswagen Group’s pavilion. The Porsche Taycan may very well be the most sensational e-car Germans have ever put together. It is a purely electric sports car only Porsche could have built.

Four-Cylinder Plug-In Hybrid

But let’s not forget the other big German car makers. BMW has offered the i3 and i8 for quite a while now. Audi’s eTron is pretty attractive. So are the two electric vehicles Mercedes-Benz is putting on display at the IAA. Their EQC is a giant SUV with purely electric propulsion. Also they are the only German manufacturer that offers an electric passenger van. The VQC with 9 seats will be available later this year.

In the Mercedes pavilion, where very powerful Maybach limousines with V12 gas-sucking engines are attracting wealthy buyers too, the company presents its full program, including more affordable vehicles with their very economic 4-cylinder hybrid motors.

The big Maybach does cost some money. Photo: Imanuel Marcus

Jochen Hermann heads the ‘eDrive’ development center at Daimler AG, which owns Mercedes-Benz. According to him, criticism according to which German car makers, including Mercedes, missed the electric ‘revolution’, is inaccurate, at least for his company.

Merkel to Open IAA on Thursday

Hermann told this publication, Mercedes-Benz customers expected certain kinds of cars. Until recently, the company had felt that electric mobility had not been the right way to go for that reason. Once they felt the EQC was feasible, they produced it. And the outcome is stunning.

Two years ago, 800,000 visitors came to the IAA auto show in Frankfurt. The organizers are hoping for even more this time around, in spite of the changes the auto industry is going through. The IAA itself tried to adapt quickly.

Chancellor Angela Merkel will officially open the IAA on Thursday, September 12th, 2019 and continue until the 22nd.

The English version of the IAA’s website can be accessed here.