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English   A historical review: The International Automobile Show (IAA) and Mercedes-Benz
18.09.2010 von admin

International again

In April 1951 the first automobile fair with a truly international following took place in Germany once again, though in Frankfurt am Main rather than Berlin. This 34th IAA was organized by the Frankfurt-based Automobile Industry Association (VDA), the successor to the "German Automobile Association" (RDA). Once the VDA had been accepted as a permanent and fully-fledged member by a plenary session of the Bureau Permanent International des Constructeurs d’Automobiles in Turin in May 1950, and had therefore subjected itself to the rules of this international association, there were no more obstacles to the first post-war International Automobile Fair. Although another Auto Show was held in Berlin in the same year, and is accepted as the 35th IAA, Frankfurt was nominated as the sole future venue for the now biennial exhibition until the 53rd IAA in 1989.

The IAA in 1951 had a great healing effect on tarnished German self-confidence. After all, it was only in an international comparison that the domestic industry could show what it was still – or once again – capable of. "Automobil-Revue" wrote: “For all the modesty with which we welcome our foreign guests, there is no reason whatever for the German automobile industry to hide its light under a bushel.”

Accordingly the unofficial order of the day for the stand designers was not to do things by halves. “There were many murmurs about the automobile temples which some companies had erected in Frankfurt”, wrote the magazine "Auto- und Motorradwelt". “As there were no large, spacious halls, and only the Festival Hall, which is in reality completely unsuitable for an automobile exhibition, still has the old-style atmosphere, a complete rethink was of course necessary in Frankfurt. The enjoyment of a direct comparison between models by different manufacturers was certainly lacking; however, given the extremely large number of visitors such a comparison would not have been possible in larger halls either.”
Poster of the IAA 1951

As a major event, this IAA attracted 570,000 visitors from 20 European and 25 “overseas” countries, as press reports stated at the time. 537 exhibitors displayed a total of 553 vehicles in an area of approx. 44,000 square meters. These included the first truck equipped with a turbodiesel engine and the Mercedes-Benz Model 300, which was soon to be nicknamed the "Adenauer" owing to its popularity with the Federal German Chancellor.

Signs of respect from abroad

The foreign press showed its respect for the German automobile manufacturers: “The International Automobile Fair in Frankfurt is certainly a major success”, wrote the "New York Herald Tribune". The Swedish newspaper "Dagens Nyheter" confirmed that the West German automobile industry had regained its spurs at the fair in Frankfurt. And the French showed themselves to be both impressed and concerned about this “second Renaissance” by German manufacturers. Indeed, the IAA in Frankfurt showed that German production was capable of quickly outstripping that in France. At the fair Federal Chancellor Konrad Adenauer told the Executive Board of the VDA that he was grateful to receive the assurances of the industry’s representatives that “they would do everything possible to increase exports and contribute more strongly to the procurement of foreign exchange.”

Glamorous: The coveted Mercedes-Benz exhibits standing behind modern doors at the 1951 International Motor Show.

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