Monday, September 21, 2009

2009 Frankfurt Autoshow


I had the pleasure of visiting the IAA 2009 (Frankfurt Autoshow) last week. The show runs through September 27th (visit the IAA website for details), if you'll be in the Frankfurt, Germany area in this time, it is worth a look. Even with lots of bad news in the auto industry for what seems like an eternity now, the show was a ray of hope with lots of exhibitors, some interesting concept vehicles, and an overall view the future that seems brighter than today's gloomy days. I took over 800 pictures, many of which I've uploaded to Flickr, and put them in set 1 and set 2.

BB1 concept from Peugeot is an electric vehicle.

Environmentally Friendly

Being green and environmentally friendly was a theme that was seen throughout the auto show. Most major manufacturers (and some minor ones too) seemed to have some kind of offering that was electric, hybrid, low emissions, or something that is a departure from the past. Toyota is on its third generation of the Prius (look for picture further down in this post) and they had a hybrid concept on display as well. Renault had several concepts on display including the Twizy Z.E. (Zero Emission) Concept pictured at the top of this post. Peugeot's BB1 concept is an electric vehicle (displayed further down). It is about the size of a Smart and can fit four. You might not want to take it on a long road trip, but would be handy for driving around cities where parking is hard to find. Fisker Automotive bills itself as the "World's First Luxury Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle". With a range of 480 kilometers between gas and electric power, you can actually drive somewhere. If you drive short distances their website contends that it drive less than 50 miles a day that it would be possible to average 100 mpg per year. The Karma S (displayed below as well as a charging unit immediately below it) is a very attractive car, not what you think of when you think of a hybrid. Smart had a few electric cars on display (I've posted one getting charged up below). Even Porsche is offering a hybrid version of its big Cayenne SUV (I've posted pictures of it at Flickr)!

Hybrid Karma from Fisker proves that hybrids don't have to be dull!

Here's a charing unit from Fisker

A plugged in Smart

DSC10218_Toyota Prius
The current Toyota Prius hybrid

DSC10209_Toyota Prius
A hybrid concept from Toyota

Customization: Make Your Vehicle Very Unique

Another trend that I couldn't help but notice this year was a wide variety of companies that do customization and some specialty manufactures. Weismann has several luxurious sports cars on display including the black M5F (shown below), which I thought could have been the batmobile! Brabus does all kinds of customization from Smarts to vans and everything in between. I was told that they recently sold a Smart for nearly 70,000 euros! I've displayed a couple of pictures of one of the Smarts that they had on display.
Mansory does high-end customization and had several cars on display including a pink Bentley (shown further down). I was told that there was a very limited production of the pink Bentleys and all of them were sold. Hamann had several vehicles of their high-end customizations on display (I've posted several pictures of them at Flickr).

The M5F from Weismann looks like it could be the batmobile

A highly customized Smart from Brabus

This interior is a lot more luxurious than your normal Smart!

Would you want to buy a pink Bentley?

Opel Lives

Here in the Frankfurt, Germany area there has been a lot of talk about Opel, with it's headquarters in Rüsselsheim it is a big part of the local economy, its future has been a topic of the local news very often in the last several months. Opel has been a big part of GM's European operations. Its car sales have been actually been pretty good the last couple of years. They introduced the Insignia, which received several automotive awards and accolades last year. I was looking forward to seeing the new Opel Astra and I wasn't disappointed. The Astra carries on much of what has been done with the Insigna but on a slightly smaller scale. While we don't know if and how the whole Magna thing will play out, Opel has another winner with the Astra (shown below).

The new Opel Astra


GM, other than what was displayed for Opel and Saab, didn't have too much on display. They had a few Chevys but based on a strategic move a few years ago, Chevys in much of the world aren't American Chevys but more like their Koren cousins (I've posted some of these pictures at Flickr). Chrysler, Dodge, and Jeep all had some vehicles on display. Geiger Cars based out of Munich, sells American vehicles. They had several vehicles on display throughout the autoshow (including the Hummer H2 displayed below, with a price tag of over 170,000 euros!) Geiger had Corvettes, Mustangs, a Camaro, a Challenger, a couple of H2s and some others.

DSC10140_Hummer Hummer
Hummer H2

Motorcycles Have A Strong Presence at the IAA

The Frankfurt Autoshow had a large representation of motorcycles. There were quite a few Harley Davisons on display (I've posted a picture of "Captain America" below). There were a few other displays including some three-wheels, atvs, and some real nice choppers (I've posted several more motorcycle pictures at Flickr).

Doesn't "Captain America" from Harley Davison make you want to go for a ride?

Mini Is Having a Birthday

Mini is celebrating its 50th birthday in grand style. They have an early Mini on display (posted at Flickr) and two nice concepts (both pictured below). In addition, they had several Minis with various customizations done (I've posted several pictures of the various Minis at Flickr).

One of two Mini concepts on display at the show

The second Mini concept on display at the show

Attention to Set Design

While the vehicles are the "stars" of all the autoshows, there has been more and more significance paid by the manufacturers over the years to sets and how their vehicles are displayed. I've seen some pretty impressive showcases in the past and there have been some pretty grand entrances by some of the vehicles being displayed. This year I'd give a best set award to Fiat for its colorful city background, that has a nice appearance as though colored by young children, helping to provide Fiat with a family feeling (a picture of part of Fiat set is shown below). Also, in the set area I was able to see some people painting the wall behind Mercedes vehicles displayed on the second floor of their exhibit (pictures of this have been posted at Flickr).

Part of the backdrop in the Fiat display


There was a certain feeling of nostalgia at the Autoshow. Mercedes have some of its proud history on display as well as some of their past Smart brand history. Then there is the older Mini mentioned above. Opel had an old Cadet on display. I saw a really nice Coca Cola van and trailor that were probably going to be some kind of concession stand but that wasn't open to the public yet (pictured below).

Have a Coke and a smile (maybe a trip down memory lane as well)

Some Other Interesting Cars

Audi's R8 5.2 liter quattro looks like it could have been driven by the Terminator in T2 (Pictured below). Mercedez and AMG displayed the new SLS. There is something special about a Mercedez with gull-wing doors. Rolls Royce, Maybach, Jaguar, BMW and Land Rover all had some nice displays (you can find several pictures posted at Flickr).

The R8 5.2 liter quattro from Audi

The New SLS from Mercedes and AMG

I really had a blast at the show. There are some really interesting prototypes being displayed. The use of hybrids and customization makes you think that the auto manufacturers are looking towards the future. If you get a chance to check it out I think that you'll find it interesting. Be sure to check out the pictures that I've posted at Flicker (set 1 and set 2) it might take you a few minutes but it is the next best thing to being there! You can read about Going Green at the Detroit Autoshow here. If you liked this post, why not subscribe via your RSS reader or via email? You can also find me at Twitter, Facebook, StumbpleUpon, Flickr, and various other places online. Feel free to check out my other blog.

blog comments powered by Disqus