IAA – International Motor Show Cars

IAA…that’s not really about Asia, but I have been to two Motor Shows in Shanghai, so I thought I simply have to take the chance to go to the IAA (“Internationale Automobil-Ausstellung” or International Motor Show Cars) right here in Frankfurt and see what’s the difference. The difference is clear right from the very beginning: In Frankfurt (nearly) all is about ecological locomotion. In Shanghai it was a mere display of car makers’ abilities: “We are here, we sell these cars.”

Ecological Locomotion

F_20070921_134837.jpg: Everybody’s offering something green, or blue, or environmentally friendly…here I believe it’s Hyundai with all cars labelled “GreenLine”. (By the way: Googling for “GreenLine” delivers quite many companies…both on google.com and on google.de give it a try!)

F_20070921_135945.jpg: Volkswagen (VW) promotes its “BlueMotion” line. Like here you often find statements on the CO2 emission of the cars, this Golf having 115 g/km. These values only make sense when comparing to others (luxury cars easily reach into 300+ g/km, a standard Golf TDI with 105 PS has 132 g/km according to VW’s web pages). Another figure I’ve heard of is that the European Union is thinking about forcing the European car makers to push the average CO2 emission of new cars below 120 g/km with companies like Porsche, Mercedes, or BMW crying out in despair.

F_20070921_141821.jpg: Foreign car companies know the topic, too: Poster of Daihatsu, calling for “environment² instead of CO2”.

F_20070921_142429.jpg: Kia was as far as I saw the only one to display fuel cell technology openly, though many other brands have such cars, too, in an experimental state.

F_20070921_145010.jpg: For many other car makers, here Peugeot, hybrid engines were the top news. All major brands had something to offer, either readily available or at least as advanced studies. Also all German car makers, who were criticized in German media to have missed the trend towards hybrid engines.

F_20070921_150157.jpg: And it was not only about the car makers. Also all smaller suppliers presented their offerings in the light of less fuel consumption or other environmentally friendly behavior. Here we see an “experiment” set up by Michelin, a tires maker: Two equally equipped Peugeots are elevated a bit within a U-shaped track and then let loose; they roll forward and backard for a while until all kinetic energy is used up. There’s just one difference: The left car has the new Michelin Energy Saver tires, the right one “just normal” tires, whatever that means. And, surprise, surprise, the left car rolls back and forth about 20 seconds longer than the right one: Tires shaped specifically to reduce rolling drag, thus, saving energy. (The guy presenting the experiment even said they once exchanged the tires of the two cars just to make sure it’s really all about the tires, and the result was nearly the same…the right car would roll back and forth even 4s longer than the left one with Energy Saver tires.) I learned today that about 20% of the cars power is to overcome rolling drag.

F_20070921_162152.jpg: If I ever buy a car (and that’s by no means impossible, even in the near future) then this is probably what I would buy: BMW 318d (maybe a 320d). Not in that color, though 😉

BMW has recently revised all their engines and found ways to cut fuel consumption by up to 20%. Now most of their cars claim to be “best of their class” in terms of fuel consumption and CO2 emission. This 318d (a diesel engine of 1.8 liters) consumes just 4.7 liters diesel on 100 kilometers according to EU average. (To my international readers: 1. The “EU average” is very well defined and reproducible. 2. There are very strict laws in Europe regarding false promises in advertisements…for here it comes down to: you can’t lie on an international trade fair.)

I recently by chance had the option to drive a BMW 320d as a rental car and was extremely pleased with it: Design, handling, dynamics, and also the low diesel consumption, which I specifically noted before learning that BMW generally just cut down on fuel consumption. Having found a new favorite I configured a BMW 318d like I would like it on BMW’s car configurator in the internet and came up with 39.660 EUR. (Special service to my father: I quickly configured a comparable Opel Signum, too, without paying too much attention to details, and came up with 36.350 EUR…not that big a difference, is it?)

BMW 318d under 40k.pdfOpel Signum.pdf

F_20070921_170411.jpg: After having seen the economical BMWs I certainly started looking for cars with less fuel consumption or CO2 emission. I could hardly find them! Even for a lot smaller cars the given consumption was often beyond 5 liters per 100 kilometers. This picture shows a standardized information on fuel consumption (“Kraftstoffverbrauch”) and CO2 emission according to EU norm as it is posted with most of the cars on the exhibition. Here it is about a Ford Focus with comparable engine (Diesel with 100kW, the 318d has 105kW); this car consumes 5.6 liters diesel per 100km and emits 148g CO2 per kilometer (a BMW 318d only 123g). But a Ford Focus is a bit smaller than a 3-series BMW…that’s where the big difference is.

F_20070921_163010.jpg: Oh yea…Mercedes was also there. I still don’t like it…it just so happened that the weekend after I got the 320d EuropCar gave me an E-series Mercedes as rental car, luxury class…I still don’t like it, sorry. It’s an emotional thing…Mercedes doesn’t build bad cars, but they don’t thrill me. Having that said: Also Mercedes is working hard on cutting down fuel consumption and got a long way. The S-series in the back (S300) announces 5.4l/100km, which is extremely good for such big a car.

Side note: Chrysler was located in the same hall, but seperated by two walls and a stairway…they obviously are separating.

For Fun

They still exist in all the environmentally-friendly setting: The irrational cars, just for fun and/or luxury:

F_20070921_135249.jpg: A Bentley Continental Flying Spur. Just a big luxury car, not even nice if you ask me. Bentley nowadays is a Volkswagen company.

F_20070921_152815.jpg: A Hummer on the outdoor safe-driving teaching track. Hummers, nowadays a General Motors subsidary, are entirely unreasonable cars: Big, wide, overpowered…but there’s probably nothing better for off-roading than a Hummer. There was a part of this outdoor track which was only used by the Hummers. I have no clue why they nowadays also produce luxury versions of their cars with all the amenities like leather, air condition, TV and the like…using a Hummer in the city is a waste of money and resources.

F_20070921_153142.jpg: Another part of the outdoor track, where just now an Isuzu Ascender descends a steep artifical hill, with Frankfurt’s characteristic “Messeturm” (Trade Fair Tower) as a backdrop.

F_20070921_145646.jpg: Artega, a new German sport cars maker. Well…I wish them luck, especially as I was fascinated by the number plate: “PB” stands for Paderborn, the place where I studied. In fact, the company is located near Paderborn in Delbrück.

F_20070921_141950.jpg: Not everything is about cars…a few ‘real’ men check out Harley-Davidson motorbikes.

China / Asia

There was quite some noise before the opening about Chinese car makers displaying “copies” of German cars. I did not specifically try to find them, I don’t even know if the German firms did finally succeed in banning these German-looking cars from the exhibition. All I found about China was this:

F_20070921_141313.jpg: SsangYong was nothing I ever heard of before. Now only with internet available I figured out that it is of Korean origin (so says Wikipedia). There’s a German internet site available, which claims SsangYong to be one of the oldest 4WD experts of the world…

F_20070921_141522.jpg: And here is the bad guy, China Automobile, an importer of Chinese cars. There were only a few SUVs on display. And very very cheap…the sign in front offers that car for just 17,990 EUR. I didn’t find any car that looks like a German (BMW X5), but I’m not so firm with the SUVs anyway. I definitely did not find that small car which looks like a Smart.

F_20070921_Asians.jpg: I couldn’t resist…there were very very many German men running around with cameras, me including. But when it comes to women its nearly always Asians. Can’t put down my “Asia” mode 😉

I did not stumble over any “native” Chinese car companies yet. But I’m sure we will hear from them latest at the next IAA in two years.

Other Cars

F_20070921_135345.jpg: A Volkswagen (Polo- or Golf-based, can’t remember) especially equipped for wheel-chair drivers: The wheel-chair can be mounted on a device, which can automatically load and unload the wheel-chair into the back of the car, allowing the handicapped driver to use the car independently.

F_20070921_143200.jpg: Mama, remember this car? 😉 The Bambino is back…Fiat re-launches the “Fiat 500”, a fun mini car for usage in the city. (My mother had such a car in its old 1980-edition and was very proud of it, so proud as you can only be of very ‘personal’ cars.) Maybe the 1980 Bambino was even smaller…but that’s the idea of it.

Bits & Pieces

F_20070921_134930.jpg: Some cute elements of the Hyundai presentation.

F_20070921_135514.jpg: Already in Volkswagen’s Shanghai presentation I have seen some artists, hanging in movable ropes from the ceiling, who run along the walls. The walls in turn are flat screens displaying patterns and landscapes in quick succession. In combination with the movies the artists show a quite stunning performance.

F_20070921_150412.jpg: Silvery trees at on of the GM brands.

F_20070921_155814.jpg: The prize for the best show goes to….MINI, nowadays the last remaining BMW subsidary of the unlucky Rover experience. (The second Asian lady in the photo composition above is sitting in a MINI Cooper.)

F_20070921_161148.jpg: And the prize for the youngest drivers to these two boys, trying a BMW 6-series convertible.

Today’s Lesson: It’s all Eco…

Categories: AsiaFrankfurt

Originally Created: 09/22/2007 12:04:59 AM

Last Edited: 09/22/2007