IAA Mobility is taking place in Munich for the first time from 7th-12th September – not as an automobile trade fair on the exhibition grounds alone, but as an all-encompassing mobility event at several locations. Rebecca Morley catches up with Tobias Gröber, head of consumer goods division, to find out more
What can we expect from IAA Mobility 2021?
Visitors can look forward to something new! In a comprehensive overview of the mobility of the future, the focus is not only on cars, but also very much on bicycles. The concept has also seen a radical change: the IAA Mobility is coming to the people in the city centre. Everyone can experience mobility there – on two, three or four wheels.
There will also be a B2B area on the trade show grounds – with a mega-conferencing programme with over 500 top speakers from automotive, sustainability, inspiration, tech, bike and more. Everything from global corporations to start-ups will be represented. The latter will play a much bigger role than in the past.
In addition to the B2B area, there will also be a B2B2C area hosting bike brands, an MTB Parkour presented by Mercedes-Benz and an e-bike Parkour. The focus of the IAA Mobility will be on trying out, experiencing, testing and inspiration, but also the opportunity for dialogues (e.g. at the Citizen Lab at the Marienplatz).
How has COVID-19 affected plans for the show?
First of all, it should be said that we can implement the main cornerstones of the concept despite corona and the difficulty of international travel. These include the B2B Summit, the B2C Open Space, the Blue Lane, Conferencing, Dialogue and other mobility solutions such as cycling.
Although the no-office and no-event policies of some large companies have meant that booth participation on their part is not possible, these companies are now present in other forms as sponsors, curation partners, speakers or virtually.
In addition, the required safety and hygiene concepts, which are dynamically adapted to the current situation, are now our daily bread and have been learned over the past 15 months.
How will IAA be different from other trade shows taking place?
On the one hand, the IAA offers new participation opportunities far beyond the mere booth space: through curation partners such as the World Economic Forum, event and sponsoring partners, speakers, start-ups, Sandbox Gaming and Hackathon, as well as citizen participation from school projects to city planners.
With the Open Space (no tickets required), the IAA comes to the citizens – and to the most beautiful places in Munich. This has never happened before in this form! With art, culture and music, the IAA creates a real festival atmosphere in the inner city.
Mobility is the main topic, as well as the dialogue with the stakeholders. The focus is on automotive and beyond, such as tech, bike, micromobility and urban planning. Everyone can experience and shape the mobility of tomorrow without major obstacles – e.g. at the Citizen Lab, at Sandboxgaming.de, at the Hackathon, the presentations and much more.
The Blue Lane is also Germany’s first environmental lane, which can be used by all zero- and low-emission vehicles (i.e. with an e-license plate) and also by carpools such as High Occupancy or Vehicle Lane. IAA Mobility also wants to leave its venues better than we found them. One example of this would be to permanently keep the charging infrastructure in Munich after the IAA.
What is it about the show that has convinced so many cycling brands to take part?
Firstly, there is the national and international coverage of the IAA Mobility in B2B and B2C media and the political and social attention and relevance. In addition, the IAA offers the bicycle industry the opportunity to shape the future of mobility on an equal footing with the automotive industry.
The location of Munich with its venues in the city (such as Hofgartenstraße and Marstallplatz), as well as at the trade show grounds, probably also play a role. The latter offers indoor and outdoor testing opportunities. Another reason for the participation of many bicycle brands is probably the innovative participation opportunities with all-round carefree packages.
What particular aspect of the show are you looking forward to the most?
In fact, simply experiencing the entire concept, i.e. the presentations in the city centre, the dialogue formats and the conference, mobility on two, three or four wheels, the presentation of the brands, the innovations of the start-ups, etc. My personal favourite, however, is that students can work with PwC and Force of Disruption to build their city of the future on Roblox or Minecraft. These designs are presented to a jury, which can then decide whether the ideas can be partially incorporated into actual city-building projects.
“We see the IAA and its new concept as a big chance for the bicycle industry. In times of e-bikes and e-cargo bikes getting more and more important in the market, we should not stay in our little bicycle bubble, but are well advised to go the next step and open up to a new and bigger audience. We hope that we can take advantage of the reach towards press, consumers and industry that the IAA hopefully will achieve.
“We really appreciate the new concept and the focus on clima-neutral mobility. In our opinion, it should be the goal that all forms of mobility are able to friendly coexist in a modern traffic system and not fight against each other. So it makes absolute sense to bring all these forms of mobility together at the IAA.
“Above that, sustainability is one of our major goals for the upcoming years, after we already started with some green milestones like the Schwalbe tube recycling system, green compounds as well as being the first tyre company ever who produces tyres with fair rubber.”
Frank Bohle, CEO Schwalbe – Ralf Bohle GmbH
“We see the IAA Mobility as an opportunity to reach end consumers in a new way. It will be a first time for us and we can’t draw from experience here. But our impression is that this could be a great success. In this case, we want to be there from the start.
“New people are coming into the world of bicycles and e-bikes, especially in the context of e-mobility. And by making these categories an essential part of the IAA, the new concept looks promising. In terms of presence, the timing is a bit tricky indeed, but we will make the additional effort it takes to be there.”
Tristan Zerdick, marketing/PR at Hermann Hartje KG
“We not only look closely at the e-bike market, but also respond optimally to it with the BikeTrax tracking system. The biggest competitive advantage is that we are equally active in the B2C and B2B sectors.
“For example, we are continuously expanding our product range with new motor-specific variants and we are working together with e-bike manufacturers on data bus communication and extended functions of the tracking system. Through direct end customer contact, we are perfecting our PowUnity BikeTrax system. Through the B2B sector, we are scaling.
“The IAA Mobility fair is the perfect platform to meet all of our B2C and B2B customer and partner segments. We are looking forward to inspire them and get inspired by the exhibitors and visitors face to face.”
Stefan Sinnegger, general manager of PowUnity