The International Motor Show is the world's largest automotive event and over the years has showcased some of the most groundbreaking vehicles the world has ever seen. Held annually in Frankfurt, automakers have locked horns over the years in attempts to steal the show, showcasing the ultimate performance, mass production and unique concept cars to the world media. So, given the rapid development in the EV and mobility sectors, you would think that the show would attract an overwhelming presence of future innovative vehicles for all walks of life. Although there was a large spike this year, I still feel that this area of automation is not getting the appropriate coverage at one of the largest exhibitions in the world. Time is running out for a lot of automakers which haven’t made the transition over to mass production EVs, however from the outside, this doesn’t seem to be affecting them too much; this is worrying.
Once again, you could feel the turmoil surrounding Dieselgate in Frankfurt, with even more OEMs caught up in the politics since the United States Environmental Protection Agency first opened the case on Volkswagen in 2015. On the plus side, the global scandal has helped change the perception of alternative fuel vehicles, which meant attendees were forced to shift focus over to hybrids, fuel-cell and battery powered cars. However, this also saw global auto brands such as Volvo, Mazda, Mitsubishi and Fiat pull out altogether, who had either not planned for an EV or connected push in Frankfurt or felt that they would get more out of the global technology exhibitions. We are already starting to see the first few established brands moving away from auto shows like Frankfurt and the Detroit Motor Show in order to attend technology events and I believe that, unless something is done, this will continue to happen until established events such as the International Motor Show fall short to new rivals.
Yes, there were a large amount of EV and autonomous concepts, however I felt that there was a lack of ‘future’ vehicles that you could purchase in today’s world. This leads me to believe that most of the automotive industry is still not in the right place when it comes to future mobility, merely using it to attract the media towards the brand that still continues to focus on conventionally-fueled vehicles. I do agree with many who say that the bulk of the market is still taken up by petrol and diesel cars, which will continue to be the case for some time, however without a push for EVs we will have to wait even longer till society understands the benefits of this shift. This will help introduce larger players in the mobility space, before they all pack up and leave to attend technology events like The International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, instead of building an intertwined event that will create a podium for future transportation. Unfortunately, it was evident that most companies attending the show were being forced to introduce cleaner and more efficient vehicles by environmental agencies and governments, rather than by their own decision.
But, ultimately, the success of the EV and connected car is down to the consumer. And, without showcasing these kinds of innovations, there will simply be no global demand. Now is the time for automakers to be proud of their approach to future mobility, helping create a hyper-efficient and clean society in a world corrupted by pollution, inefficiencies and systematic dangers. By having a genuine focus on this, automakers will gain long-term success with consumers and the media, whilst helping the industry achieve the environmental goals that have been set. The Frankfurt Motor Show’s future relies on it.
Alex Kreetzer - Editor