Once again, it’s a Frankfurt motor show (IAA) just ahead of a German general election. Angela Merkel, all but assured of being returned as Chancellor, has been making clear her views on the German automotive industry: it might be the country’s power house, but it’s time to clean up, electrify, and make it easier for consumers to make the switch. The pressure from government, however, is being presented as supportive – to ensure Germany maintains its leading position in the automotive world – rather than punitive. Do bear that in mind when reading press releases from IAA 2017.
It was at the Frankfurt show in September 2015 that the then VW Group Chief Executive Martin Winterkorn announced what was – then – a major electrification programme; two weeks later, he was gone, the first to fall after the severity of Dieselgate became clear. Just shy of two years later (Dieselgate broke on 23 September 2015), Volkswagen Group has announced what it claims to be “the most comprehensive electrification initiative in the automotive industry”. Under ‘Roadmap E’, the VW Group will launch 80 new electric vehicles by 2025, invest over €20bn ‘for the industrialization of e-mobility’, and begin a €50bn sourcing strategy to support what it anticipates to be an annual demand for 150 gigawatt hours of li-ion battery capacity for its own fleet alone.
Having for so long appeared to be the technology that should have made it but failed due to the many seemingly insurmountable barriers to adoption, the apparent enthusiasm for electrification is surprising even to seasoned industry observers. The acceptance into mainstream debate, thanks to heightened emissions awareness post-Dieselgate, comes at the same time as an urgency from the OEMs who are making the push in anticipation of demand and in response to regulatory pressure. Daimler, Jaguar Land Rover, Volvo Car and the aforementioned VW Group have all made bold statements about electrification. While the word ‘electrification’ needs to be handled with care, the very fact that it is being used so broadly is planting important seeds.
Now, however, that enthusiasm needs to be converted into vehicle sales which, to date, do little to mirror said EV enthusiasm. And for all the talk of EVs, there’s a notable absence of new plug-in product.
Here, Automotive World takes a look at the anticipated highlights of the 2017 Frankfurt motor show (IAA). This article will be updated throughout the show’s two press days to include key launches and developments. Concept cars are included; the word ‘concept’ has become a catch-all to include anything from futuristic ‘idea factories’ to near-production ready cars – and it’s the latter in particular that merit attention.
Some of the most significant new model launches at the 2017 Frankfurt motor show (IAA) include:
BMW M5: The sixth generation of this eagerly awaited performance version of the BMW 5 Series will be launched in 2017 complete with M xDrive all-wheel-drive technology. PRESS RELEASE
BMW 6 Series GT: PRESS RELEASE
BMW X7 Concept: Finally, a BMW to plug the gap for those who found the X5 lacking in space. This comes with seven seats, and the range includes a plug-in hybrid version, as illustrated by the i Performance version on the BMW stand at the IAA.
BMW Concept Z4: A design study that BMW says offers insight into the styling of the next Z4, the production version of which will be unveiled “over the course of next year”. PRESS RELEASE
BMW Concept 8 Series: It’s good to have the 8 Series back. Like the Concept Z4, this is a near-production-ready concept illustrating what the cars will like in the flesh – the 8 Series Coupe is due for launch in 2018. PRESS RELEASE
BMW X3: Third generation X3. PRESS RELEASE
BMW i Vision Dynamics PRESS RELEASE
Mini Electric Concept: This Electric Mini Concept previews a production version that will be unveiled in 2019. PRESS RELEASE
Isabella concept: Still very much the new kid on the block, the Sino-German company’s IAA appearance features a sports car concept.
Exeed TX: Chery is coming to Europe. Produced in China, this crossover has been developed for European customers, and will launch with three electrified powertrains: hybrid (HEV), plug-in hybrid (PHEV) and battery EV (BEV). PRESS RELEASE
Smart Vision EQ ForTwo concept: Daimler says this autonomous concept car is “a new vision of urban mobility and individualised, highly flexible, totally efficient local public transport” PRESS RELEASE
Mercedes-Benz Mercedes-AMG Project ONE: Daimler’s showpiece takes the idea of the performance plug-in hybrid to a whole new level: the two-seater sports car features a high-performance plug-in hybrid drive system with a 1.6-litre V6 turbocharged gasoline engine and four electric motors. PRESS RELEASE
Mercedes-Benz EQA: PRESS RELEASE
Mercedes-Benz GLC F-CELL preproduction car: Daimler claims this is the ‘world’s first electric vehicle with fuel-cell/battery powertrain’. Presented as a preproduction model, the GLC F‑CELL uses the OEM’s ‘EQ Power’ technology which combines plug-in power with hydrogen fuel cell technology. PRESS RELEASE
Mercedes-Benz X-Class: The motor show debut for this Mercedes-Benz pick-up (now there’s a sentence we never thought we’d write) PRESS RELEASE
Ferrari Portofino: The new name for the California, this coupe-cabrio’s V8 turbo will deliver 592bhp. PRESS RELEASE
GREAT WALL MOTORS
WEY XEV: Electric SUV concept from Great Wall’s luxury marque. No European launch plans announced, but it’s a confident appearance from China’s GWM.
Honda CR-V: Honda’s Swindon, UK built SUV will soon come with a hybrid option, if this close-to-production concept is anything to go by. Featuring the brand’s first electrified SUV powertrain for Europe, the vehicle will go on sale in 2018. PRESS RELEASE
Honda Urban EV Concept: Designed for Europe, but with designs on global sales, this Honda concept previews an all-electric city car for Europe which will be launched in 2019. The OEM expects electrified vehicles to account for two thirds of its European sales by 2025, and two thirds of its global sales by 2030. PRESS RELEASE
Kia Stonic: Kia’s all-new B-segment SUV. PRESS RELEASE
Kia Proceed Concept: Shooting brake concept that hints at future Cee’d styling. PRESS RELEASE
A limited presence at the IAA for the now six-brand PSA Group – former GM Europe subsidiary Opel/Vauxhall booked its stand long before PSA’s acquisition. PSA Chief Executive Carlos Tavares will publish his plans for Opel/Vauxhall in November 2017.
Opel/Vauxhall Grandland X: Motor show debut in Frankfurt for the new range-topping Opel/Vauxhall SUV. PRESS RELEASE
Dacia Duster: Second-generation Dacia Duster. PRESS RELEASE
Renault Symbioz: Renault’s keenly-anticipated car-of-the-future concept. PRESS RELEASE
Jaguar E-Pace: Although it was unveiled in July at an event in London, this is the motor show debut for the new Jaguar compact SUV. PRESS RELEASE
Toyota Land Cruiser: Global debut.
Toyota C-HR Hy-Power concept: A design study by Toyota’s European Design Centre (ED2) illustrating how hybrid powertrain technology could be built into existing and future core models.
Audi Aicon: “No pedals, no steering wheel, no problem” – so says Audi of the Aicon, an all-electric, autonomous four-door 2+2 concept with a range of at least 434 miles. PRESS RELEASE
Audi A8: Audi claims the new A8, unveiled in July 2017, is ‘the first production automobile in the world to have been developed for highly automated driving’. Currently equipped for Level 3, Audi aims to up it to Level 4 in 2020/2021. PRESS RELEASE
Audi Elaine: This electric SUV coupe will have highly automated driving capability – but it’s designed with drivers in mind, and unlike the Aicon, it does come with a steering wheel and manual controls. PRESS RELEASE
Audi RS 4 Avant: Global debut. PRESS RELEASE
Audi R8 V10 RWS: Audi Sport GmbH is extending its R8 range to include new RWD derivatives.
Bentley Continental GT
Porsche Cayenne: Top-of-the-range version of the third generation Cayenne comes with a four-litre V8 biturbo engine capable of delivering 404 kW (550 hp). PRESS RELEASE
SEAT Arona: Launched earlier this year in Barcelona, the new SEAT small urban crossover makes its motor show debut at the IAA – and goes on sale on the same day. PRESS RELEASE
Skoda Karoq: Although already unveiled, this is the motor show debut for Skoda’s Yeti successor. PRESS RELEASE
Volkswagen I.D. Crozz: VW’s battery-electric compact SUV concept hints at a future production model. Anyone remember the Skoda Vision E Concept electric coupe SUV from the Shanghai show..? PRESS RELEASE
Volkswagen T-Roc: VW’s new sub-Tiguan compact crossover PRESS RELEASE