Statement delivered by Matthias Wissmann, President of the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA), at the closing IAA press conference in Frankfurt am Main on September 25, 2015
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Before I come to the IAA, I wish to talk about the topic that has dominated the headlines in recent days.
The German automotive industry is dismayed by the manipulation of exhaust tests found at Volkswagen in the US.
A practice involving the wrongful use of a special piece of engine software is inacceptable.
We regret most deeply what has happened and take the situation very seriously.
The events must now be fully and consistently investigated.
The German automotive industry supports the authorities in their work for comprehensive clarification and examination.
Clarification will also involve making a differentiated evaluation of varying situations.
For example, the issue that has just come to light is not a general problem with diesels.
Our companies have developed the modern diesel technology that leads to the lowest pollutant emissions.
The wrongful use of a special piece of engine software does not change this one bit!
Modern diesel drive trains are indispensable for achieving the European climate protection targets.
The Euro 6 standard, which has been binding for all new registrations since September 1, 2015, protects both the environment and consumers.
Consumption and emissions in road traffic fluctuate considerably. The EU emission standards are determined on the test bench in a procedure prescribed by law.
Deviation from the EU standard values determined by this method, when vehicles are on the roads, cannot be avoided for purely physical reasons and is legal.
Such deviations are caused by a range of factors, principally by motorists’ varying driving styles and the traffic and weather conditions.
Clearly, the wrongful use of software cannot be tolerated. That is incompatible with the aim that the German automotive industry has set itself.
But it is also clear that we have to distinguish:
This is not about the question of whether vehicles register different exhaust values outside the test cycle.
- Differences occur for physical reasons, and they are legal. And we do not have laboratory conditions on the roads.
- The automotive industry supports a decision by the EU soon on new RDE (Real Driving Emissions) legislation that includes realistic measuring methods for the pollutants.
- In the future the new cycle for consumption and CO2 emissions in the EU, the WLTP, on which we have also been cooperating constructively for several years, will reduce the differences between the test bench and the roads.
The question is whether software has been or is being used, which serves to recognize the cycle and then triggers the switching on or off, or modification, of the exhaust aftertreatment in order to optimize cycle recognition.
- If the answer to this question is “No,” then individual models must not be pilloried because of higher values.
- It would be unfair to put the entire automotive industry – manufacturers and suppliers – under general suspicion based on the evident mistakes of a single company.
So I ask you to refrain from sweeping generalized judgments. It is inappropriate to make sweeping judgments about VW and its 600,000 employees around the globe, or about the whole automotive industry or “Made in Germany.”
But now to the actual reason for this press conference: the IAA.
The 66th IAA Cars ends at 7 p.m. on Sunday. We already have a very welcome balance:
This IAA is recording more visitors, more world premieres and more exhibitors than the IAA two years ago. That is a great success. The IAA thus reinforces its position as the world’s most important trade show for mobility.
And today the IAA is much more than an “auto show.” We have put the IAA 2015 in a new position as a pivotal forum for the great trend of connecting and digitizing mobility.
After only the first couple of exhibition days – on last Sunday – we already said we had a welcome increase in the number of visitors. And we still have two and a half exhibition days to go.
Despite this, today we can state – based on many years of experience – we assume that by Sunday evening the number of visitors will have climbed to around 920,000. That is growth of around 40,000 IAA visitors, or roughly 5 percent, as compared with 2013. We are extremely satisfied with this result.
We are also proud that the IAA can obviously buck the trend with strong increases because it is so attractive and showcases exciting topics – unlike the developments seen at many other trade fairs.
The IAA underscores its aim of being the world’s most important leading trade fair for mobility with fascinating innovations. Visitors to the IAA can experience 219 world premieres, which is 60 more than two years ago. The halls and the open-air site have been very popular on all the exhibition days, and on the weekend it was sometimes pretty packed!
The number of exhibitors has also increased. At this IAA 1,103 companies are displaying their products. This is the highest number this century. The exhibition area totals 230,000 square meters, which equals 33 football pitches. So the show is fully booked.
A look at the exhibitors reveals that the IAA is the most international trade show: 40 percent of the exhibiting companies come from abroad. And almost four out of ten foreign exhibitors (37 percent) are headquartered in Asia. The number of nations represented has risen to 39. The five best-represented foreign countries are China, South Korea, France, the United Kingdom and Italy.
The visitors to the IAA have also become more international. Nearly one fifth of IAA visitors (18 percent) have traveled here from abroad. Two years ago the proportion was 17 percent.
It is noticeable that more and more visitors come from countries outside Europe. Alongside the Europeans (71 percent), more guests arrived from North America (7 percent; 6% in 2013; 2% in 2011). A total of 13 percent of foreign visitors came from Asia. The share of visitors from the Middle East doubled to 4 percent.
We are especially pleased to see that the visitors to the IAA are becoming younger all the time. The average age of IAA visitors is 34 – that is way below the average age of the German population. And compared with the IAA 2013 – when the average age was 37 – the IAA public has become three years younger.
So the IAA is a real “fountain of youth” – and disproves the claim that young people are less interested in cars. In fact the opposite is the case: at this IAA people have been “voting for cars with their feet.”
The IAA is also a gigantic classroom. Our schools’ campaign attracted over 30,000 participants, making it a huge success once again. We have had groups of schoolchildren from Austria, France, Poland, Belgium and Holland coming to Frankfurt. And we also had “welcome classes” from Frankfurt at the IAA of young people from Syria, Eritrea and Afghanistan.
The IAA is unique because it showcases the whole automotive value chain. Around 400 suppliers have presentations here. They also accounted for 98 of the 219 world premieres. They are showing the latest developments: battery technology, lightweight construction parts, sensor systems, driver assistance systems – to name but a few.
The major topic at this IAA is automobile digitization and connectivity. Last year we in the VDA chose the IAA motto “Mobility connects.” Back then it was not yet so clear that this topic would gain such massive importance. But I can conclude now that we selected the right topic.
If we look at the IAA 2015 today, the following becomes clear:
Automated and connected driving has dominated this IAA – at the opening event, in the large congresses at the IAA, on almost all walking tours, and in all the media.
Today I can say that we scored a direct hit with the focus of this IAA.
We have given the IAA a new position: as the large, pivotal and international forum for the mega-trend of connecting and digitizing mobility.
What was becoming apparent in the US at the beginning of the year at two separate trade shows – at the CES in Las Vegas and the Detroit Motor Show – we have, together with the exhibitors here, at the world’s leading trade fair, consistently linked and integrated for the first time.
For this the VDA has created an entire new section of the exhibition in Hall 3.1 – the “New Mobility World” at the IAA. Then there is also the large outdoor circuit, on which visitors can experience the new possibilities live: cars that park themselves, that can fully autonomously navigate their way through a simulated motorway construction site, and which “automatically” avoid a sudden obstacle on the road.
Over 180 exhibitors are taking part in the IAA’s New Mobility World. They come from the most varied industries and companies, from business start-ups to international telecommunications corporations. The New Mobility World therefore represents the whole diverse range of topics surrounding the mobility of the future. It is clear that no single sector can resolve the challenges of future mobility on its own. Furthermore, the IAA has actually expanded – by adding many e-bikes and pedelecs. The electrically powered bikes evidently make a good supplement to cars.
It was therefore the strategically correct decision that all relevant players would have displays and enter into an interdisciplinary dialog in the IAA’s New Mobility World. This platform is absolutely unique. It has come through its premiere at the IAA with flying colors. I am sure that we will continue along this path in the future.
The IAA is also a meeting place for policy-makers. Of course, this includes Chancellor Merkel’s opening speech and walking tour. Two days ago Federal Economics Minister and SPD chairman Gabriel visited us. Federal Minister Johanna Wanka (education and research) also came to the IAA.
Furthermore, Federal Transport Minister Alexander Dobrindt hosted the G7 transport ministers at the IAA. The ministers discussed modern infrastructure, and connected and automated driving. They had an opportunity to experience the path for this development on the outdoor circuit – and not only in a virtual way. The reactions generated enthusiasm. Here it became obvious that we need in particular an international legal framework for these new technologies. European Commissioner Günther Oettinger also drew attention to this at the IAA. His colleague, European Commissioner Violeta Bulc, has also been to the IAA.
In all, over 100 walking tours were organized with high-ranking political representatives from many nations and German states. The guests included ambassadors, ministers of other nations, foreign delegations, state premiers, many ministers from German states, numerous state secretaries from the national government and the federal states, and some members of the German Bundestag. In addition we again had visits from celebrities – motor racing professionals, musicians, actors, athletes and even whole premier league football teams.
The program for this IAA is so extensive that I cannot describe it in detail, so I will just give you a few figures. The off-road circuit was extremely popular, recording 26,000 passengers so far, which is more than 50 percent up on 2013. We are sure to break through the 30,000 mark by Sunday. The test drives also show a strong increase in visitor numbers, with over 6,000 participants so far, which is a rise of 18 percent.
Also, the more than 25 specialist events and congresses that we organized at the IAA were all very well attended.
I would just like to summarize:
- The 66th IAA Cars is a resounding success.
- The number of exhibitors has risen.
- The number of exhibiting suppliers shows an especially large increase again at this public exhibition, climbing to 404. This strengthens an important unique selling point of the IAA, i.e. showcasing the entire value chain.
- The marked increase in the world premieres – by more than one third, to 219 – has certainly once again enhanced the attractiveness of the IAA.
- At around 920,000, the number of visitors at the world’s most important trade fair for mobility shows a marked rise.
- The visiting public at the IAA has become younger.
- The international media interest remains at an unbeatable high – 11,000 journalists from 106 countries are reporting on the IAA
- The topic of connecting and digitizing mobility was correctly identified and convincingly realized as a mega-trend.
- The New Mobility World extends what the IAA has to offer by adding a new platform that is going down very well.
- To summarize: this IAA is a very successful one in all aspects.
The preparations and realization of this IAA are very largely the result of the hard work put in by the VDA’s own team. I therefore wish to thank first of all the members of my staff. In addition, many partners of this IAA have also helped to make it successful. I wish to thank Messe Frankfurt, the police, the fire service and all the other organizations and service providers that have supported us.
After the IAA… comes the IAA!
The next IAA Cars will be held from September 14 to 24, 2017, here in Frankfurt. Those who do not want to wait that long can meet us next year at the 66th IAA Commercial Vehicles – from September 22 to 29, 2016, in Hannover.
Thank you very much for listening.