Like two years ago at the first edition of the IAA in Munich, the weather gods seem to have an understanding this time too. The sun should shine continuously on the Isar in the coming days – once again. The best signs for a street festival in the so-called Urban Spaces in the city, which should bring a lot of joy to the people of Munich and the thousands of late summer tourists. The International Motor Show has long since lost its importance as a major auto show, which used to be one of the most important in the world and the most important in Europe. However, many do not want to believe this, or only to a very limited extent. A few German car manufacturers in particular are not only presenting themselves in downtown Munich with impressive brand buildings, but also with significantly smaller stands at the exhibition center itself, where the mighty performance show of the past has now become a small B2B event that is of no significant importance for the car manufacturers has.
After the IAA two years ago, some of those responsible at the major European car manufacturers shook their heads and ruled out a return to the IAA in 2023 at the trade fair itself - the so-called summit. It was therefore quite surprising that one or the other brand found its way to the exhibition center in Munich-Riem again without revealing any innovations worth mentioning. Similar to 2021: many international brands are staying away from the IAA this year. Apart from Tesla and a few Chinese manufacturers, you will largely look in vain for brands from the USA and Asia. The giants of General Motors are completely missing on the Isar, only Opel from the Stellantis brand conglomerate is represented and Toyota has turned its back on the fair, as have the other Japanese companies, Jaguar Land Rover or Volvo / Polestar.
The people of Munich themselves are not bothered by this and the red-green city government of the metropolis makes no secret of the fact that they hardly want to have anything to do with cars, but prefer other concepts such as cycle lanes and a new inner-city tunnel tube for the subway . At the IAA 2023, mobility concepts, cyclists and panel discussions on peripheral automotive topics are therefore in the foreground. Many of the journalists who have flown in from all over the world have therefore only attended the specially organized brand events on the days before the IAA and are on their way back home for the official start of the trade fair. They visit the fair neither at the summit in Riem nor in the open spaces in the city. But it is precisely these that make you want to find out more about everything to do with mobility, because it is not only the car manufacturers who present themselves as self-confidently as one can expect from them. Mercedes has placed a stately red brand cube in the inner courtyard of the residence, Audi and Porsche shine on Wittelsbacher Platz, VW on Ludwigstrasse and BMW has pitched its tent city on the central Max-Joseph-Platz in its hometown to enhance its image.
Some of the Chinese manufacturers have looked for another way. While brands such as Nio, SAIC subsidiary MG or Build Your Dreams (BYD) are themselves represented at the trade fair in Munich-Riem, some manufacturers have rented hotels in the city center just around the trade fair. Many of the appearances serve more as test drives for dealers and trade visitors or are the informal setting for the top management who are flown in at short notice.
However, Munich residents and tourists can always look forward to the IAA in the city center with its numerous stands, countless events and concerts from tomorrow Tuesday to next Sunday. Admission is free, there is a lot to see and to get a taste of - not just on the subject of electromobility. However, it is doubtful whether the car manufacturers will want to stage an IAA like the current one again, at least after the first statements on the start day. Interest in a motley street festival in downtown Munich with a lot of brand image and automotive reference: yes. But again at a significant expense without the important impact on the public at the IAA Summit in Riem: that is unlikely to happen. However, it was the same last time and many came back this year, not least with a view to the trade fair organizer VDA. It will also be interesting to see how the disruptive actions planned by climate activists will affect the course of the events – in the vicinity of the exhibition center and in downtown Munich.