IAA 2021 portrays a climate-friendly image amid protest threat, covid cloud
IAA is not only the biggest motor show in Germany but one of the biggest automotive events in the world as well. Traditionally held in Frankfurt, this year, the event is taking place in Munich. Interestingly, this is the first major automotive event worldwide since the Covid-19 pandemic.
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Instead of vehicles, this year, the event is more concentrated on mobility, not only as a product but as a service as well. From cars to motorcycles, from electric scooters to electric bicycles have found their own place at the event.
Another angle that is shaping up the IAA 2021 is the portrayal of the climate friendliness of the auto industry. Hildegard Müller, president of the industry association VDA, which organises the bi-annual show, said last week that the goal of climate protection is guiding us. "Climate-friendly engines, the digital connectivity of transport - that's what this fair is about," she said.
The 2021 event is a far cry from what the IAA is known for. Themed around ‘Mobility of the Future’, this year's event is missing a lot of major car brands. These include Tesla, Stellantis, Toyota, Opel, Ferrari, Jaguar Land Rover etc. Besides that, the Covid-19 pandemic and threat of protests from environmental activists are other concerns for the organisers.
The event witnessed a drop of visitors to 560,000 in 2019 from 930,000 in 2015. This year, due to the pandemic and related restrictions, the number is expected to be much lower than the 2019 numbers.
Another concern for the organisers is the threat from environmental activists. The protests marred the 2019 event leaving many visitors outside of the venue. This time too, the protesters have vowed to show agitation outside the venue on Friday and Saturday, the two days when most of the visitors are expected to come to the event.
Reuters reports that to tackle the protesters, up to 4,500 police will be on-site during the event that ends next Sunday. This is going to be the biggest police presence for an event in Munich in 20 years.
Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Renault, Mini are among the car brands that are showcasing their glittering concepts and production-ready cars at the event. The majority of the concepts and production-ready vehicles being showcased at the event are electric vehicles and loaded with futuristic technologies such as autonomous driving, connected features etc.