© Reuters. A common view of preparations for the Munich Motor Present IAA Mobility 2021 in Munich, Germany, September 5, 2021. REUTERS/Andreas Gebert
By Victoria Waldersee and Nick Carey
MUNICH (Reuters) – Germany’s greatest motor present, going down in Munich this week, is now not nearly automobiles.
This 12 months’s IAA (NYSE:) present, the primary main motor trade occasion worldwide because the COVID-19 pandemic, desires to be about mobility normally, from bikes to e-scooters to automobiles.
“Local weather-friendly engines, the digital connectivity of transport – that is what this honest is about,” Hildegard Müller, president of trade affiliation VDA, which organises the bi-annual present, mentioned at a pre-event press convention final week. “The aim of local weather safety is guiding us.”
The present, which has shifted this 12 months from Frankfurt to Munich and is themed “Mobility of the Future”, is a far cry from its regular format showcasing the most important and mightiest automobiles available on the market. The pandemic and rising concern over local weather change have solid an uncomfortable shadow over the occasion, already underneath stress from waning attendance numbers in earlier years – from 930,000 in 2015 to simply 560,000 in 2019.
Certainly, many trade stalwarts have determined in opposition to exhibiting up: Toyota, Jaguar’s Land Rover, Stellantis – together with its German model Opel – and Ferrari (NYSE:), to call a couple of.
But, as building employees scrambled on Sunday to place up remaining exhibition cubicles forward of the official opening on Tuesday, automobiles have been clearly nonetheless the dominant function. A lone CANYON e-bike tent was distinctly outnumbered by far bigger, glitzier carmaker stands from Mercedes-Benz, Audi, MINI and others.
Activists and environmental teams, too, level out that for all of the discuss of mobility and diversified transport, automakers nonetheless make the overwhelming majority of their cash from fossil-fuel emitting SUV gross sales.
“Including ‘mobility’ to the occasion’s title and pushing their e-models to the fore will not do the trick so long as they maintain promoting primarily gas-guzzling combustion engines,” Marion Tiemann, transport professional for Greenpeace in Germany, mentioned, branding the occasion a “greenwashing bonanza”.
Environmental teams together with Pals of the Earth Germany and Greenpeace plan a serious demonstration on Saturday in opposition to the greenwashing of the auto trade and for a quicker shift to sustainable mobility. Activist organisation Sand im Getriebe (‘Sand within the Gears’), which smashed up 40 luxurious automobiles at a dealership close to Frankfurt earlier than the final IAA in 2019, has promised “mass civil disobedience” at this 12 months’s occasion.
As much as 4,500 police shall be on website throughout the present which ends subsequent Sunday, the most important police presence for an occasion in Munich in 20 years.
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