VDA’S Wissmann: IAA Commercial Vehicles – the leading trade fair for decision-makers

Largest mobility trade fair is even more international – 2,066 exhibitors from 45 countries with 322 Statement delivered by Matthias Wissmann, President of the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA), at the IAA final press conference on Thursday, 2 October 2014, at 11.30 h in the Convention Center, Hannover trade fair grounds Ladies and …

Largest mobility trade fair is even more international – 2,066 exhibitors from 45 countries with 322

Statement delivered by Matthias Wissmann, President of the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA), at the IAA final press conference on Thursday, 2 October 2014, at 11.30 h in the Convention Center, Hannover trade fair grounds

Ladies and Gentlemen,

it is my pleasure to welcome you most cordially to our final press conference at the 65th IAA Commercial Vehicles. Please allow me to begin by drawing a conclusion: this IAA has well and truly lived up to its slogan, “Driving the future”. It has demonstrated its position as the world’s most important trade fair for mobility, transport and logistics. All the exhibitors recognise this.

The exhibitors have shown in impressive ways that: The trends and topics are set here at the IAA! This is the only place where the whole industry is on display.

As all professionals involved with commercial vehicles now know, this is the meeting place for this industry’s creativity and pioneering spirit from all corners of the world! At this IAA all of us have seen and experienced commercial vehicles’ enormous drive for innovation: 322 world premieres, 78 European premieres, and 52 German premieres!

Innovation and internationality – these two exhibition trademarks are inseparable at this IAA. The international nature of this leading trade fair has increased once again: the 1,216 international exhibitors account for 59 per cent of all the exhibitors – which is a new record. China again heads the list of the ten best represented foreign countries. The number of Chinese exhibitors has risen by around one third to 200, followed by Italy and Turkey. The international media presence in Hannover is unrivalled.

Connectivity, efficiency and flexibility – these three forward-looking topics formed the technical focus of this IAA.

Connectivity: The fascinating dynamism of the progress in connectivity and automation, especially in commercial vehicles, was visible in its entirety here at the IAA.

May I mention just two examples: on the “Innovation Stage” on the open-air site, visitors had their first opportunity to see how a driver left his cab and simply controlled his 25 metre-long truck remotely with the aid of a tablet computer using one finger, and manoeuvred it backwards to the loading ramp. So nobody has to sit at the steering wheel for manoeuvring. The job is done by an electric motor.

This IAA is also looking far ahead – with the first automated truck in the world. It sounds like science fiction: the truck drives safely on the autobahn without the driver having to intervene; it communicates with its surroundings and ensures greater safety on the roads. It consumes less fuel and relieves the stress on the driver in monotonous situations. This is made possible by the intelligent networking of all existing safety systems, supplemented by cameras, radar sensors and means of communication both between vehicles and with the infrastructure. There is a lot suggesting that this could be reality on our roads ten years from now. And many other exhibitors – suppliers in particular – have dedicated themselves to connectivity and automation. The importance the companies attach to this topic was demonstrated at the carIT Congress two days ago. High-ranking representatives from the carmakers Audi, BMW, Daimler, Ford and Opel came to the IAA to discuss connectivity with IT experts and commercial vehicle representatives. Cars and trucks – both are driving these innovations forward.

Efficiency: Here at the IAA, exhibitors have given concrete outlines of the way further CO2 savings will be made: with alternative drive trains, aerodynamics, lightweight construction, driver training, improved infrastructure and above all with long trucks. Federal Transport Minister Dobrindt emphasised potential of long trucks in his opening speech. Furthermore, modern Euro VI trucks have such low pollutant emissions that we are fully justified in calling them “clean machines”. And among the many innovations in vans, the propulsion systems with low CO2 values and low consumption were some of the most impressive.

Flexibility: Alongside the familiar advantages of heavy and light commercial vehicles in transporting freight, the impressive success of long-distance coaches should have a special mention here. Four years ago here at the IAA in Hannover, we triggered the topic anew. Now, in the first eight months of the current year, more than 10 million passengers have made use of this mobility option, which became widely available only at the beginning of 2013, and which is continually adding new connections between more towns and cities. Coaches represent a safe, low-cost, sustainable mode of long-distance transport. It is not an exaggeration to say that long-distance coaches make a key contribution to the democratisation of mobility.

On an area of just under 265,000 square metres the IAA showcases the whole commercial vehicle value-added chain. The suppliers alone – once again they make up the largest group of exhibitors – account for 70 per cent of the world premieres. And the manufacturers of trailers, bodies and buses also have a large number of innovations here.

The number of exhibitors has increased by 9 per cent, to 2,066. The entire world of commercial vehicles is represented – the exhibitors come from 45 countries.

This 65th IAA Commercial Vehicles has once again attracted about a quarter of a million visitors, which is around the average of the two previous IAA Commercial Vehicles. But even more than in previous years, our exhibitors appreciate most particularly the high quality of the visitors and the discussions with customers, which were even more intensive this time. The IAA has enhanced its standing as a professional trade show for decision-makers. The managers in our industries know that the IAA Commercial Vehicles is a must for their business. This is shown by our representative visitor surveys over the last few days.

Our strategic exhibition concept has therefore proven to be a very successful one. As the world’s most important mobility trade fair, the IAA reaches its target groups like no other commercial vehicle exhibition anywhere in the world. Many deals are concluded right here at the show. And the IAA is the platform for first-class contacts and highly competent, highly qualified experts from the commercial vehicle industry and its customers.

The proportion of trade visitors comes to 83 per cent, again a very high level (84 per cent in 2012). And seven out of ten trade visitors are decision-makers.

What applies to the exhibitors is also true of the trade visitors: they are becoming more and more international. The proportion of trade visitors from abroad exceeds 26 per cent – again a high figure – while on peak days it reached 42 per cent.

Europe and China head the trade visitors’ league table. First place goes to Poland for the first time. At 8.3 per cent, the share of visitors from our neighbouring country has more than doubled. It is followed by Holland (7.5 per cent) and China (6.3 per cent). One third of the Asian visitors come from China. So, as was the case two years ago, China is by far the Asian country with the most visitors here.

Our survey reveals the especially remarkable finding that the visitors leave the IAA 2014 more willing to make investments than they did in 2012: a good 57 per cent of visitors plan to invest in commercial vehicles in the next six to twelve months. In 2012 this figure was a little under 54 per cent. And just over half of IAA visitors use their time here for preparing their investments, while among foreign guests the proportion is even higher, at 63 per cent.

There is no question that business has a lot to do with psychology. And as a trade show this IAA supports that fact. It sends out positive impulses for the development of the commercial vehicle business.

I could of course now go into detail about the many VIP walking tours, the more than 30 specialist events with a total of several thousand guests, the numerous test drives in electric vehicles and those with conventional drive trains, our special activities promoting young talent, and the many special shows. All of this is part of the world’s leading trade fair and makes the IAA Commercial Vehicles unique. But I want to sum it up by saying that this IAA was a large, international mobility congress with an exciting programme of action.

Today we really can draw a very positive conclusion for the IAA. And at this point we wish to thank the entire team at Deutsche Messe AG for their support, their professionalism, their exceptional orientation on service, and the wonderful way they have worked with all of us at the VDA.

After the IAA… comes the IAA! In one year’s time the 66th IAA Cars will begin in Frankfurt am Main (17 – 27 September 2015), and in 2016 we will be back here in Hannover at the 66th IAA Commercial Vehicles (22 – 29 September 2016). We are looking forward to it!