IAA 2019 Strong decline in exhibitor and visitor numbers

Bundeskanzlerin Angela Merkel mit VDA-Präsident Bernhard Mattes und Daimler-Chef Ola Källenius auf der IAA 2019.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel with VDA President Bernhard Mattes and Daimler CEO Ola Källenius at the IAA 2019.

Many leading trade fairs in Germany would be satisfied with 560,000 visitors. This cannot be the case at the Frankfurt International Auto Show IAA. However, the automotive industry had to contend with adverse conditions on several fronts in advance.

The International Motor Show in Frankfurt (IAA) in 2019 had to cope with significant declines in exhibitor and visitor numbers. Even though VDA President Bernhard Mattes speaks of an impressive final spurt of the IAA.

Last weekend, around 150,000 visitors came to Frankfurt, the world's most important mobility trade fair. Offroad courses, test drives and e-move tracks were particularly popular. Over 30,000 visitors took advantage of these experience formats during the IAA.
»More than 560,000 visitors came to the IAA 2019 — well over half a million people. No other mobility trade fair has a higher digital range: with over half a billion visitors, it is by far the most important mobility platform. This is impressive proof that people's interest in automobiles and sustainable individual mobility remains very high. This IAA has proven its attractiveness. This result makes us optimistic. The IAA is transforming itself from a purely automotive trade fair into a comprehensive mobility platform. At this IAA, we successfully launched a dialogue with critics in various forms and developed the IAA into the international discussion forum for mobility of the future. Never before has the number of political guests been so high,« explained Bernhard Mattes, President of the German Association of the Automotive Industry VDA.
However, Mattes' optimistic statement must not hide the fact that the number of visitors has fallen by 31 percent. In 2017, 810,400 visitors came to the IAA.
Mattes is also satisfied with the media response: Around 7,800 journalists from 95 countries accredited to the IAA, with 46 percent of media representatives coming from abroad.
Mattes concluded: »After the IAA is before the IAA. The transformation of the entire industry is also changing the IAA. We are moving even more intensively towards interactive formats that promote dialogue and strengthen real experiences. And we will have an even stronger digital presence.« The new IAA concept is currently being developed in close cooperation with the VDA member companies. Mattes: »If today we restrict ourselves primarily to the exhibition grounds, tomorrow we want to bring new mobility even more to the citizens of the city itself. The location issue is linked to this. Frankfurt is still in play as a location, but there are other attractive options. We will comment on this when the resolutions have been passed. I am convinced that the IAA 2021 will be even more exciting, eventful and dialogue-oriented than the already very successful IAA 2019.« One thing is clear: Mattes will no longer be responsible for this. At the IAA, he announced his retirement from the post of VDA President by the end of the year.