Friday, September 18, 2009

Frankfurt Auto Show -- Some Early History

Hi folks -- Currently the big auto news centers on the International Motor Show or Internationale Automobil-Ausstellung (IAA) held in Frankfurt , Germany. This biennial event showcases many new models and concept cars. It is especially important this year because of the massive technological, design and organizational /structural changes that have been recently experienced on a global scale. Yet, there is no history of this event outside of a few web page posts that are very incomplete and superficial. Why was the event held in Frankfurt rather than Berlin? To what degree did Cold War mentalities figure in the event? How is the German industry organized and what is the function of the trade association (VDA) who represents the German auto industry? We need to know more about the related politics both within and outside Germany.
The Germans held numerous important car shows in Berlin during the 1930s, as the Nazi government used the event to showcase new models, including the VW Beetle. After the war, between 1947-49, Hannover's Messe Hall was used for automobile and auto accessory manufacturers to showcase their products to the public.
In April of 1951 a public auto show open to the public took place in Frankfurt, and 570,000 visitors came to the event. Six months later, the first IAA took place in Frankfurt. That same month 290,000 car hungry people attended a similar event in Berlin, labeled an Auto Salon. These two gatherings reflected the rebirth of the German auto industry.

The brochure above is in my possession and is an important bit of ephemeral material on the 1951 show.

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