Statement delivered by Matthias Wissmann, President of the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA), at the webcast press conference on Friday, September 4, 2015, at 15.00 h
Ladies and Gentlemen,
May I welcome you most warmly to our live webcast press conference. In just a few days, the world’s most important trade show for mobility, the 66th International Motor Show (IAA) Cars, will open its doors in Frankfurt am Main. For many weeks now the preparations for the IAA have been running at full speed, and construction is proceeding in the halls and open-air areas. This is sure to be a very exciting exhibition. We are convinced that the IAA will once again underscore its position as the international leader among the major automotive exhibitions.
People’s desire for individual mobility continues to increase everywhere in the world. And cars are right in the middle of an accelerated digital evolution. IT is being integrated into the new cars at a rapid pace. The key visual and the slogan really hit the nail on the head: “mobility connects.” At this IAA the primary focus is on connected and automated driving – along with electric mobility and the further optimization of classical drive trains.
This IAA showcases – unlike any other trade fair – the digital world of mobility. That will be visible at the exhibition stands of the manufacturers and large suppliers, and it will be supplemented by the “New Mobility World,” an exhibition area dedicated to the topic and covering a total of 30,000 square meters in Hall 3.1 and on the open-air site.
Cars and smartphones are not mutually exclusive, but form two sides of the same coin. Today one car in four that is bought new is already “connected,” and in a few years the figure will be three out of four. In the future people buying a new car, be they young or old, will also want it to be a mobile online communication platform.
And there’s more: connected and automated driving will make driving a car even safer, more comfortable, and more efficient. Traffic congestion can be avoided, because intelligent cars will communicate with one another and give their drivers the correct signals in real time. In the future, rear-end collisions will be a thing of the past. That is our vision. It will not be realized overnight. But specific steps on the way will be visible at the IAA. In only a few years from now, cars will drive automatically into the parking lot and look for a space. The driver will no longer have to sit at the steering wheel.
It is already possible to experience these fascinating future prospects at the IAA. In Frankfurt this industry’s huge drive for innovation will be especially tangible to visitors. To summarize: the IAA shows how automobiles and the digital world can be connected to enhance mobility – to benefit people, business and the environment.
Electric mobility is another core component of the IAA. Many manufacturers already have such models on offer or are launching new vehicles onto the market. Many suppliers are presenting their technologically innovative contributions. Electric vehicles offer enormous advantages, especially in urban usage: they operate with zero local emissions and are significantly cheaper to use.
At this point I consciously wish to repeat that the right framework conditions have to be in place for electric mobility to really take off in many countries in the world, including Germany. Politicians should set to work on this. Policies providing effective incentives for the sale of electric vehicles, more charging pillars, and procurement programs for cars with electric drive are necessary. We are convinced that those who want to be successful on the world’s automotive markets in the long term must master the technology of emissions-free driving and push forward on their home market.
However, the IAA will also demonstrate that the classical internal combustion engine still has considerable potential for optimization: smaller engines, better supercharging, lightweight construction – these are the keywords. In both gas and diesel engines, modern drive trains have very low consumption and their pollutant emissions are approaching zero.
The IAA will also confirm that the future of mobility will continue to have an emotional component. The “fascination of the car” moves people – especially when it comes to buying a car, but also during day-to-day driving.
The IAA also acts as a measure of how the automobile business is doing. And of course we know that challenges definitely exist in some regions of the world. The industry takes account of this fact. Yet the most critical aspect for the IAA is the economic situation in Europe. And that is good. We are delighted that the Western European passenger car market is developing so dynamically at this time. Over the year as a whole we expect to see a rise of almost 6 percent to 12.8 million passenger cars. The new EU Member States are also making progress.
The large US market is also expanding, and in 2015 it will grow by 3 percent to nearly 16.9 million new Light Vehicles – that will be the highest sales level for ten years. China remains the world’s largest market, but is shifting down a gear. For the year as a whole we now expect growth of 4 percent at most, to 19.1 million passenger cars. In the medium and long term the Chinese car market is clearly still on a path of growth. All of this supports the world’s most important motor show, the IAA.
The IAA indicators also look good: The exhibition is once again virtually fully booked. As at the IAA 2013, the exhibition space comes to 230,000 square meters. That equals 33 standard football pitches. A total of 1,103 exhibitors from 39 countries will present their new developments in the exhibition halls. This is the highest number of exhibitors since the turn of the century. And the Frankfurt Motor Show continues to be truly international: Of the exhibiting companies, 40 percent come from countries other than Germany.
The number of countries represented has increased by 11 percent as compared with the IAA 2013, rising to 39 nations. The top five best-represented foreign countries are China, South Korea, France, the United Kingdom and Italy.
The IAA showcases the global world of the automobile. This is what makes it so unique. And it is also the only trade fair that covers the entire automotive value chain. Around 400 suppliers will be represented in Frankfurt – and naturally nearly all the major automotive manufacturers. That points up the fact that the IAA is hugely attractive for both exhibitors and visitors.
Firms of all types and sizes will be in Frankfurt because the IAA offers a comprehensive international platform for new mobility topics and innovative technologies. The setting for the show is very attractive and the models are excellently presented. The whole range of products from the manufacturers is on display here at the IAA. And the entire range of the suppliers’ expertise.
We have great pleasure in informing you of the following: The number of world premieres at this IAA has risen by one third to 210. There are also 26 European premieres and 30 German premieres. So the IAA is setting off an amazing display of innovations!
The IAA’s worldwide importance is also underscored by the fact that the transport ministers of the G7 countries will hold a meeting at the IAA on September 16 and 17. Federal Transport Minister Dobrindt will receive his counterparts from Japan, the US, Canada, the United Kingdom, Italy and France. The European Commissioners Bulc and Oettinger will also attend the G7 transport ministers’ meeting. It will focus on connected and automated driving, and the significance this development has for policy-making and business.
You as journalists are also sure to be interested in knowing that no other automotive trade show has such an extensive and international media presence: so far, over 7,000 journalists from 87 countries have already been accredited. In total, we expect roughly 12,000 media representatives from around the globe.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I look forward to seeing you soon at the IAA in Frankfurt.