BMW April 2022

After nearly 70 years of hosting the IAA, Germany’s top automotive show, Frankfurt has given its place to Munich for this year’s event. It’s the first major motoring show to finally go through in Europe following the cancellation of the Geneva shows in 2020 and 2021 and last year’s Paris event that is held on alternative years with the IAA, with more than 1 000 exhibitors and speakers. This makes the IAA Mobility the first major international event in Germany after the lockdown restrictions.  

It’s no secret that manufacturers have been slowly, but steadily avoiding costly motor shows over the past few years, and this trend continues with Munich’s inaugural event. Notable absentees include Toyota and Stellantis, which incorporates the PSA Group, the Germany-based Opel brand and Fiat Chrysler Automobile, not to mention higher end marques like Bentley, Lamborghini (which could have paraded the new Countach) and McLaren.

 “Mobility is one of society’s foremost topics. The IAA Mobility is taking place because people all over the world are seeking better solutions to their mobility needs and the companies have developed many new solutions to meet them, which they wish to present on an international stage. The main focus will be solutions on the path to climate neutrality. The fact that the IAA Mobility is being held under the current coronavirus rules is itself a great success for the event,” explains VDA President Hildegard Müller. 

There was no shortage of interesting and thrilling metal to help compensate for what has been the longest drought in motor show history. Some of the cars on show here were making their debut nearly two years after an official unveiling, not to mention that it was the first chance every one’s had to speak to several key automotive personalities. The biggest and most exciting reveal wasn’t – as had previously been almost taken for granted – on BMW’s stand, but a couple of halls over at Volkswagen instead. The unveiling of VW’s all-new small electric car was worthy of a crowd. 

Not to say that BMW wasn’t interesting, of course. In fact, few concepts in recent memory have made such bold promises about the future of their maker’s products as does the i Vision Circular, and though executives have been careful to deny any production intent or even styling influence on future cars, there’s no questioning the urgency and necessity of the messaging. Cars have got to be sustainable to produce, not just to use or power, and BMW has shown exactly how that could be possible within the next 20 years.

The most promising thing about the selection of predominantly electric cars on display was the diversity and the performance of these cars. Audi’s Grandsphere concept was a popular hit at the show. No car is the same and all have much to offer. 

Mercedes-Benz which used the GLB, Maybach Concept EQS and EQG showed that not all electric SUVs need to be identical. The AMG EQS 52 showed us that electric saloon cars can be exciting. The AMG One showed us that Mercedes is really planning to launch an F1 car for the road. 

The IAA Mobility 2021 focuses on the transformation to climate neutral mobility as one of the most important global challenges. VDA President Müller said, “We’re committed to climate neutral mobility. Our goal is to make the transformation a success story for the German automotive industry.”

All the cars on display at Munich this year have showed us that there is hope for a more sustainable future.