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The IAA automotive tradeshow ended last weekend in Frankfurt, Germany, and the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA), organizer of the event, reports more than 900,000 visited, with 20% of them from abroad. Of the foreign contingent, 20% of it came from Asia, up from 12% at the last (2009) IAA. PlasticsToday was there too, fighting the crowds and snapping photos. Hope you enjoy them.
September 27, 2011
2 Min Read
I'll spare you the Blair Witch-like video I shot of the hangar-sized, DJ-pumped, groovy dancer filled, mocktail-giveaway VW hall, as my shaky camera hand will make you seasick, but as a regular attendee of this show for more than a decade it was clear to me that the IAA this year was much snazzier-much more expensive and expansive in terms of exhibitors' outlays- than recent IAAs. The automotive industry is healthy and felt like showing off a bit.
There are some Tier 1 and 2 suppliers that exhibit at the event, notably Johnson Controls, Visteon, Delphi, Denso and Inergy, but the real stars are the automotive OEMs. At last year's IAA and also in 2009, electric cars were present, but barely. This year they filled an entire hall, plus were present at practically every major OEM's stand, plus had special extra stands...it can be said without question that e-cars were the true stars at this year's IAA. In fact, alternative power trains were the star, be they mild hybrid, plug-in hybrid, range extender or 100% battery-powered.
The second clear trend was the integration of telecommunications devices into cars' cockpits. Slots and docking stations for e-readers, i-everything, cell phones, Blackberries and more were a common sight.
Feeding those trends, the VDA planned two extra events for the IAA. The Electric Mobility Congress on September 21 attracted more than 500 guests, and the carIT Congress the next day was attended by more than 300.
Also very prevalent and in stark contrast to the (mostly) conservatively designed e-cars were roadsters, convertibles and sports cars aplenty. You can draw your own conclusions; maybe the designers, after getting finished with the boxy e-cars, needed to have some fun. Or maybe the marketing managers made the case they needed such magnets to draw plenty of visitors. Regardless, these cars were plentiful and they looked great.
On the plastics front, exterior parts reinforced with carbon fibers were everywhere. As we've reported, BMW and Daimler are making major efforts to improve processing of carbon fiber reinforced plastics; it could spell a new dawn for resin transfer molding and other composites processes.
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