IAA Mobility 2021: All together now

The new IAA Mobility took place in Munich earlier this month, with 75 out of 744 exhibitors from the cycling industry. Rebecca Morley looks at how it is hoping to shape the future of mobility

With a new concept and new ideas, this month’s IAA Mobility in Munich aimed to showcase mobility in all its diversity, from cars and bicycles, tech and connectivity, LEVs, public transport, urban air aviation and more. And with 75 out of 744 exhibitors from the cycling industry, it also marked an ‘important global event on the cycling industry calendar for years to come’.

“Many market participants are only now realising or understanding that we really want to bring together all mobility carriers on one strong platform,” says Tobias Gröber, executive director – business unit consumer goods at Messe München. “And that the bicycle can and must also play an important role here.

“Of course, we will continue to develop and adapt our concepts. For example, the bicycle brands in the Open Spaces and B2C areas, but also the brands in the B2B area, have expressed the wish to integrate this area much more strongly and to mix in with the suppliers from the automotive, IT/tech, infrastructure and start-up sectors. Especially a mix of automotive brands, supplier industry, global corporations, start-ups and bikes, micromobility, e-scooters and cargo bikes has been extremely well received. Therefore, we will tackle this for 2023. We are aware that this opening will not please all market participants and stakeholders who would like to hold on to their traditional ‘enemy images’ (cars versus bikes, pedestrians versus bicycles).

“But this polarisation will not get us anywhere as a society, because only an interplay of all solutions will help us move forward; not the artificially maintained preservation of traditional positions. Because mobility in the countryside needs different solutions than big metropolitan areas. And that is why, especially after the first IAA Mobility, it is even more important for us that it is not ‘either bicycle or car’, but ‘both bicycle and car’ – that we have an eye for the better solution in any situation.”

A total of 744 exhibitors were present at IAA Mobility 2021, including automotive companies with 98 exhibition areas, 75 bicycle brands, 152 supply firms, tech companies and 78 startups. Among the bike brands were Ampler, Canyon, Cannondale, Coboc, Scott, Specialized, Simplon, Stromer, Flyer, Nicolai, Husqvarna, Riese & Müller, Rose, Rotwild, Kettler and more.

The show was attended by 400,000 participants and 3,500 journalists from 95 countries – meaning that the new IAA Mobility attracted 32% more visitors per day compared to the average number of visitors at the last IAA in Frankfurt – despite the continuing COVID-19 restrictions on international travel.

67% of visitors were under the age of 40 and 86% graded the concept for IAA Mobility as either good or very good. They gave especially positive ratings to the mix of exhibitors and the opportunities to try out innovations on-site. The international (potential) reach of IAA Mobility 2021 exceeded 137 billion hits worldwide. The social media channels recorded 140 million page impressions and reports from the show were accessed over 38 million times on YouTube and TikTok alone.

Coverage was especially intensive in countries such as China, the USA, South Korea, Spain, Italy, Brazil, and of course, Germany. Hildegard Müller, president of the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA), which organised the first IAA Mobility this year jointly with Messe München, says: “We took a courageous step and were rewarded by the visitors. 400,000 participants in only six days is a clear case of visitors ‘voting with their feet.’

“The visitors were evidently very interested in and delighted by the whole experience. IAA is now the largest mobility event in the world. New electric cars, bicycles, e-scooters, energy policies and urban planning, digitisation and more – here in Munich we presented and discussed what needs to be thought, together in the future. At the IAA Mobility Conference, we also experienced lively discussions on the path to the new mobility.

“The exhibitors unveiled more than 100 premieres of their latest models and concepts, underscoring the fact that the transformation of mobility is being driven forward toward climate neutrality and digitisation.” The third edition of the World Cycling Forum took place in conjunction with the fair on 6th-7th September. The main theme of the two-day international congress was around capitalising on the current bike boom.

World Federation of the Sporting Goods Industry (WFSGI) president and CEO Robbert de Kock says: “For the bicycle industry, this is a crucial moment and we aim to capture the momentum from the IAA Mobility to continue to innovate, and further grow in the mobility sector.”

The next IAA Mobility will be held in Munich from 5th-10th September 2023.

“I think it’s remarkable that the IAA has revised its concept of the show. It takes great courage, which I often miss in the bike industry. Here in Munich, new answers are being sought instead of the ‘same old’ and that suits us as a company very well. There were valuable discussions and events about new and urban mobility. As a sponsor of the IAA Mobilitython and as an active participant in the IAA Conference, we were particularly enthusiastic about the cooperation and the results. The new always has the difficulty of having to prove itself against the existing. The concept has absolutely potential, needs more fine-tuning, more integration, etc., but we all know that. It was a very positive first step towards the future. Keep it up!”

Frank Aldorf, board member – Internetstores Group

“In the past few days, we had many visitors from different sectors at our booth and had great conversations. We are pleased to see that people are becoming aware of the importance of bicycle mobility for the mobility shift. However, in the context of the trade fair, we would have liked to see a stronger fusion and more opportunities for dialogue between the different forms of mobility. In order for mobility to be multimodal and demand-oriented, it is essential to bring all transport users together. Here we see potential for further development of the format to promote a constructive exchange and synergies between the individual actors.”

Dr. Sandra Wolf, managing director – Riese & Müller GmbH

“The IAA Mobility had many highlights in store for us as exhibitors! On Tuesday we welcomed German Chancellor Angela Merkel, VDA President Hildegard Müller, Federal Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer, Bavaria’s Prime Minister Markus Söder and Baden-Württemberg’s Prime Minister Winfried Kretschmann to our stand. On the trade visitor days, we enjoyed lively exchanges with dealers and media representatives. On the weekend, the stream of visitors hardly stopped. All in all, we can draw a very positive conclusion from the premiere of the IAA Mobility.”

Bernd Lesch, managing director – Pierer E-Bikes Germany

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