The IAA mobility show tries to reinvent the auto show

For industry insiders, who make up a large chunk of visitors, IAA Mobility also presented a Davos-like ‘summit’ which featured panel disc...


For industry insiders, who make up a large chunk of visitors, IAA Mobility also presented a Davos-like ‘summit’ which featured panel discussions on Wednesday with headlines such as’ Manage Your Electrified Fleet ‘,’ Decarbonize the Channel Automotive Supply “and” Challenge of the Christian Worldview in the Age of Digitization.

Axel Schmidt, head of the automotive division at consulting firm Accenture, said he believes a new format is overdue and organizers are on the right track. But he wasn’t sure it would work.

“I don’t know if this is the start of the end or the start of a new era,” Schmidt said in an interview.

The beginning of the end is a distinct possibility. Most of the expansive showrooms at Messe Munich, the city’s exhibition center, were vacant as companies like Stellantis – the vehicle maker Fiat, Peugeot and Jeep – refused to rent spaces.

All car manufacturers are under financial pressure. A semiconductor shortage has caused car prices to skyrocket, pushing sales down well below pre-pandemic levels. But sales of electric vehicles are on the rise.

And just as the pandemic has led many to question their routines and values, it has also prompted automotive executives to question traditions as venerable as the auto show. The Geneva International Motor Show, once one of the major events on the industry calendar, has not taken place since 2019, although organizers have said it will resume next year.

The North American International Auto Show, America’s premier auto show, is also adjusting this year, moving from its usual location in Detroit to M1 Concourse, a circuit in Pontiac, Michigan. The event, called Bella engine, will offer visitors the opportunity to ride in high-performance sports cars or drive an off-road course, as well as see more traditional exhibits of car manufacturers.

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