Despite clouds over the event, cars shine at Frankfurt Motor Show
By MICHAEL ABRAMS | STARS AND STRIPES Published: September 14, 2017
FRANKFURT, Germany — The Frankfurt Motor Show opens its doors to the public on Saturday and visitors will find a variety of gleaming cars from energy saving, subcompact electric vehicles to hybrid-powered SUVs and gas guzzling sports cars.
The 67th Internationale Automobil Ausstellung, as it is called in German, had a cloud hanging over it before it even started, with the so-called Diesel-gate, where Volkswagen and perhaps other German car makers cheated on diesel emissions tests.
Additionally, a number of major manufactures, including Peugeot, Fiat, Alfa Romeo, Jeep, Nissan and Infiniti, decided to drop out of the biennial show for varying reasons.
But when the gates opened on Tuesday for the media, the focus was on the future and less on the past.
While electric cars have been featured at past shows here, it seemed that compared to traditionally powered cars they were an afterthought. This year, perhaps because of the diesel scandal, almost every manufacturer is displaying various models with electric, hybrid or hydrogen fuel cell power. But as in the past, it seems that big, fast traditionally powered cars still outweigh alternative-powered vehicles at the show.
A continuing trend is the SUV, especially compact versions. Korean car maker Kia unveiled the Stonic, while Opel, recently sold by General Motors to France’s PSA unveiled the Grandland X to go along with their Crossland X and Mokka X SUVs. Skoda presented the Vision E, an electric concept SUV for the future.
Mercedes dove into the pickup truck market with their X-Class models, but the star of the German company’s exhibit is the Mercedes-AMG Project One, a 1,000-horse power monster. It can hit speeds up to almost 220 miles per hour and costs 3 million Euros (about $3.6 million). Despite this, Mercedes has already sold out the 275 models made.
Volkswagen seems to be trying to make amends for Diesel-gate by showing a bevy of electric vehicles including the I.D. Buzz, an electric microbus reminiscent of the VW van of yesteryear. Although still a concept, it is expected to go into production in 2022.
Power cars are on display too. Ford is showing the new 450-horse power, V8 Mustang while Ferrari unveiled the new Portofino and Porsche showed the 2018, 700-horse power 911 GT2 RS, the most powerful street car they have ever made.
While the 911 is more a design from the past, another German car maker showed what the car of the future might look like. Audi’s sleek, four-seater Aicon, is a concept of a fully autonomous car that features no steering wheel or pedals.
Part automotive past and part future is in the foyer of Hall 4.0. Lightning McQueen, hero of the Cars movie sequels, is on display here. This version is made out of 5,554 Mattel die cast models of the car.
The IAA is open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 16 to Sunday, Sept. 24 at the fairgrounds in Frankfurt. Admission is 16 euros on the weekends and 14 euros during the week for adults and 7.50 euros for children. Those under 7 years of age are admitted free. Save 2 euros on adult tickets be ordering them online at www.iaa.de/en/.
The Aspark Owl was unveiled at the Frankfurt International Motor Show, Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2017. The Japanese company says their gull-winged electric sports car will go from 0-62 mph in under two seconds.
MICHAEL ABRAMS/STARS AND STRIPES