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Internationale Automobil-Ausstellung (IAA)

September 24

Written September 27

Dear Friends and Family,


I went to the biggest car show in the world, the Internationale Automobile-Ausstellung or IAA or, in English: The Frankfurt Auto Show. I went on the busiest day of the two-week Frankfurt event. I went to snap a few pictures. I went to see cars and car people. In the end, I was overwhelmed by taking car pictures, by cars, by car pieces, by car people and ultimately by the overall size of the operation.

Some background: IAA was first held in a Berlin hotel in 1897 and showed 8 vehicles. Nowadays, IAA is so large, it is actually split into two shows: commercial vehicles are shown in Hanover in even years and domestic automobiles are shown, in the largest car show in the world, in the fall of every odd year. In 2009, despite the economic downturn of the time, 850,000 people attended, well over the population of Frankfurt itself.

I like cars, I like trade shows, and I like taking pictures, so it seemed like a good idea to spend a Saturday taking car pictures. I took a quick subway ride from my Offenbach hotel (see last diary) and joined the crowds from the S-Bahn exit. Over the next four or five hours, I wandered through about half of the displays, and was exhausted at the end. I missed the big names, Mercedes, Audi, Ferrari, and others, but I had fun.

My favorite part? The suppliers. IAA is primarily an auto industry show and many days are even closed to the retail public. Surrounding all the name brands are hundreds of smaller companies, displaying the key roles they have in the modern auto industry. I'll admit that I didn't recognize most of the names, but they were clearly engineers and businessmen proud of their niche.

As for my pictures, I'll admit these may not be my best. After the first hour, I was hemmed in by crowds in almost every venue. But, I did take LOTS of photos nonetheless. No obligation to look at more than a few.

I started out in buildings 8 and 9. It was early and the displays were not "main stream" German, consequently I could see the cars.
Minis looked fun. Might be a future option   The "People" were all heading toward the German stars, including the "new" Porsche Boxster. Honestly, it seems only slightly changed from Marianne's 10-year-old model.
The BMW's were essentially buried in bodies.

Opel showed off this little ... something.

I just could not handle the line into the Audi building.

Toward the afternoon, even the Ford and Kia displays were attracting crowds. Sorry, I just don't understand "Smart" cars. An all-clear plastic Subaru might be an option?
Maybe it's an engineer thing, but I liked the displays of suppliers who provide the big manufacturers with important pieces. Here, an air-bag supplier showed off his stuff. And this is a block for the Mercedes four-cylinder diesel, the same motors we had seen assembled in our Stuttgart factory tour.
    Note the sign. This supplier of plastic bits and pieces employs tens of thousands of people. And this tire supplier apparently offers yellow tires. Who would have thought?
Even the German Army had vehicles to show off. But I liked this Audi better. A Changan. Chinese. The next big thing. An Eterniti. Never heard of it. Priced over 200,000 euros.
Fancy Peugeot, properly displayed. Note that the tires are perfectly right-side-up. Another Peugeot - a hybrid! A formula car from Infiniti.
A not-so-famous race car, a Dacia Duster. At least one car I recognize. (Marianne's first car in high school.) And BMW makes more than cars. This art work is ... unique.
Lots of simulators and lots of kids in them! Cute little tow truck, just right for Europe, I suppose. The IAA is also a center of recruiting. And snacking.
Did I BUY anything? I did. A can of leather treatment. I couldn't leave empty handed!

If you want to go to IAA 2013, make hotel reservations today.




IAA website - map : http://www.iaa.de/en/visitors/maps-catalogue/iaa-map/



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