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IAA Mobility 2021: Germany’s new auto show to focus on electric autonomous vehicles and mobility

03 September 2021 Tim Urquhart

The IHS Markit team has outlined some expectations for IAA Mobility 2021 in Munich (7 September) and offers the following analysis and commentary ahead of the show.

  • Implications: Germany's industry showcase will begin a new life in Munich away from its old site in Frankfurt when the IAA Mobility show gets underway on Tuesday.

  • Outlook: The show is supposed to be a new concept that moves away from the traditional static motor show to giving practical demonstrations of new technology, but a wide range of exciting new electric and autonomous vehicle concepts will also be on show.

The IAA Mobility motor show will get underway in Munich on Tuesday (7 September) and Germany's industry showcase moves from its traditional Frankfurt location. Reflecting the immense changes the automotive industry is currently undergoing, the show's organizers have looked to create a new concept that is more dynamic, with an emphasis on practical demonstrations of technology rather than just the traditional static displays of vehicles.

Audi will show the Grandsphere, the second of its three future-orientated autonomous battery electric vehicle (BEV) concepts that will help define the technology landscape and the styling of the brand's future. The Grandsphere follows the August unveiling of the Skysphere sports car concept and hints at what Audi's future range-topping luxury sedan will look like in terms of the eventual replacement for the A8. The car boasts dramatic, elegant and angular styling that is aimed at creating the feel of a 'private jet for the road'. Its 5.35-m length helps emphasis the car's dramatic styling, which is dominated by an aggressive front end and a large rear overhang; it will also have Level 4 autonomous vehicle (AV) technology, which will stow all screens and controls when being operated in this fashion for a clean and luxurious cabin environment. In addition, a 120kw/h battery pack will give the concept a range of over 750km.

BMW will unveil an exciting new concept vehicle that places an massive emphasis on recyclability at the event which is being hosted in its home town. The company has teased the i Vision Circular concept car, which will be 100% recyclable and "embodies the company's claim to be the most sustainable manufacturer for individual premium mobility." BMW will also be offering passenger demonstrations of the new iX5 hydrogen fuel cell prototype vehicle. Visitors can be driven in the iX5 Hydrogen along the Blue Lane that connects the main exhibition grounds with other exhibition venues in Munich city centre. A small series of the BMW iX5 Hydrogen prototypes, developed using the ICE X5 as the base vehicle, will be used for demonstration and testing purposes from the end of next year.

Dacia will show a new five- or seven-seat model, known as the Jogger, later this week. The model will have a live online reveal today (3 September) before being shown at the IAA. The company said, "The Dacia Jogger is the best companion for (large) families. Versatile, it goes with all family members in their daily adventures and their trips in the nature. With the pragmatic spirit that characterises it, Dacia offers a vehicle that allows its customers to enjoy the simple pleasures in life with friends and family in complete freedom". Although the brand has given no further details, Reuters reports that this new nameplate has been designed to replace three vehicles - the Logan MCV estate, and the light commercial vehicle (LCV)-based Dokker and Lodgy.

Mercedes-Benz will show a new concept for a BEV version of the G-Class in Munich. Mercedes-Benz announced plans to electrify its iconic G-Class sport utility vehicle (SUV) last year and the EQG concept will point towards a production vehicle that is set to go on sale in 2024, according to an Autocar report. Mercedes-Benz's designers will retain the ICE G-Class's distinctive 'two-box' silhouette, although it will be updated, while the interior will use the latest display technology and design language as debuted on the recently launched EQS concept. A new one-piece front grille will be the biggest visual differentiator over the ICE-powered car, while new wheel designs and light graphics front and rear will combine with a revamped rear end will help to distinguish the EQG from the G-Class.

Porsche has said it will launch a 'future-orientated concept' at the show in Munich. The sports car and performance SUV manufacturer posted a single image on Twitter of a complex LED headlight design, saying that the company is "looking to the future" with the "world premiere of a future-oriented concept study". The company is thought to be developing a BEV sports sedan that will drop into the range below the Taycan, which would be a natural rival to the Tesla Model 3 and the new BMW i4, although it is also possible that the concept with preview something more radical.

Renault Group's Mobilize business will show its new Limo BEV sedan, designed to be used by ride hailing services as a taxi and private-hire vehicle. The four-door vehicle has been developed in conjunction with Renault Group's Chinese partner Jiangling Motors Group (JMCG). It is said to measure 4.67m long with a 2.75m wheelbase; 1.83m wide; and 1.47m tall, with a design that has a short bonnet and plunging roofline. The interior has an easy to clean satin finish, leather-effect upholstery, while the dashboard benefits from a 10.25-inch instrument panel and 12.3-inch central infotainment touchscreen. It also offers passengers in the rear seats 288mm of legroom, with enough space for three people, two USB ports and volume control knobs, adjustable air vents and booklights. The car has a 411-litre boot. The electric motor develops 110kW and 220Nm of torque giving it the ability to accelerate to 100km/h in 9.6 seconds and a top speed of 140km/h.

SEAT's Cupra brand is planning to show the UrbanRebel BEV concept, which is a "radical interpretation of an urban electric performance car." The concept is based on the "MEB short" platform, and it is 4,080 mm long, 1,795 mm wide, and 1,444 mm tall. The brand highlighted a range of key design details. These include the shark-nose front end, which also benefits from a triangular headlight signature, while a wrap-around window graphic gives the effect of a floating roof. Inspired by motor racing, the concept features an electric motor that provides 250 kW of continuous power and peak power of 320 kW. It is said to be able to accelerate to 100 km per hour in just 3.2 seconds.

Volkswagen (VW) will reveal a "near-production" version of the ID.5 GTX coupé SUV at the IAA. Ahead of the reveal, VW confirmed the MEB platform, and says it "wows with its elegant design and powerful dual engine four-wheel drive." The ID.5 GTX will be a fully connected vehicle, capable of over-the-air (OTA) updates and fitted with Car2X technology for communication with other vehicles and infrastructure. The ID.5 GTX has IQ.Light LED matrix headlights, for a "likeable" look that includes a light strip which tapers toward the VW logo and is combined with honeycomb elements on either side. GTX is VW's modern sporty brand, as in the past it had GTI, GTD and GTE. The ID.5 has a motor on each axle with a lithium-ion battery and projected range of 497 km. VW also confirmed that the ID.5 GTX will arrive toward the end of 2022, with the ID.5 standard model being revealed in late 2021 or early 2022, with first deliveries due in the first quarter of 2022..

Outlook and Implications

As motor shows were postponed en masse as a result of the pandemic last year, it was decided last year that September's IAA (Internationale Automobil-Ausstellung) motor show event should move from its traditional base of Frankfurt to Munich and take on a brand new and dynamic format. The show's organizers, the VDA, wanted to create a show that put the industry's shift towards mobility provision at the forefront while moving away from the traditional static, range display motor show, with the VDA focusing on "innovations, not on complete product ranges." Instead of room for a full model line, there will be room for conferences, press slots and networking. The exhibition's inner grounds and the inner city will be connected by a test track, called Blue Lane; visitors will be able to experience new forms of mobility and low-emission powertrain technologies. Finally, there will be an Open Space aimed at the general public and business-to-consumer networking. However, while this attempt at introducing a new concept for an automotive show is laudable and necessary, the creativity applied by both the VDA and the OEMs attending will be key to the success of this and future editions. While traditional motor shows have seen falling attendances in recent years, both in terms of OEMs and visitor numbers, it is hard to base a show entirely around demonstrations and the somewhat nebulous concept of 'mobility'. There will still be an element of seeing and touching physical vehicles that attendees will want to engage with. There is an excellent range of concepts on display from Audi's space-age ultra-premium Grandsphere to mass mobility taxi concepts, with AV technology and electrification being common themes.

Posted 03 September 2021 by Tim Urquhart, Principal Analyst - AutoIntelligence, Automotive, IHS Markit

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