The Biggest Car Show on Earth
Sunday, September 1, 2013
The biggest car show on the planet is held in Germany in September, and is called the Frankfurt Auto Show. In fact, it is so large that the organisers had to split the show in 1991. Nowadays, in odd-numbered years it is held in Frankfurt and exhibits passenger vehicles. In even-numbered years, it displays commercial vehicles and is held in Hannover.
The first show was held in 1897 in Berlin, and it moved to Frankfort's trade fair site in 1951.
The last show before the split took place in 1989. It had more than 2,000 exhibitors and more than 1.2 million visitors. The most recent shows have once more attracted about 1,500 exhibitors and around a million visitors.
It is especially popular with German manufacturers, with BMW, Mercedes, Volkswagen and Porsche sporting massive collections. But the exhibitors hail from about 40 different countries, with Asian countries increasingly well represented. Large manufacturers like Mercedes and BMW have their own exhibition halls. There are 12 exhibition halls altogether, and each takes almost a day to walk through. Fittingly, the whole show runs for 12 days.
The show has always featured vehicles at the cutting edge of auto technology. Since 2005, a wide range of hybrid, flexible fuel, electric, selective catalytic reduction and hydrogen powered vehicles have called it home as manufacturers compete to achieve the lowest fuel usage per kilometre. The vehicles at the extreme of this field are almost twice as fuel efficient as most of the vehicles that are widely commercially available, so the technology in Frankfort is truly worth one's attention.
Manufacturers often introduce new vehicles here, including concept cars that still have to undergo some technical and safety improvements before they are commercially sold. Car enthusiasts can thus discover models long before they are officially released into the market.