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

The first IAA fair was named "Automobile Review"

In 1897 the "Central European Motor Wagon Club" organized a one-day automobile show in Berlin, and this is now acknowledged as the first International Automobile Show (IAA). This "Automobile Review", as it was named, was a modest start, for at that time the automobile was not a particularly popular means of transport. Accordingly, the Hotel Bristol in Unter den Linden provided sufficient space to display the grand total of eight vehicles to the public – no less than four by Benz and one by Daimler. The third exhibitor was Lutzmann Dessau.

From September 3 to 28, 1899 the "First International Motor Wagon Exhibition" was organized in Berlin by the "Central European Motor Wagon Club". According to the official figures of the German Automobile Industry Association (VDA), the present-day organizers of the IAA, this event was already the third of its kind after the likewise one-day show at the Berlin Exhibition Park in 1898. Rather than the previous handful of participants, no less than 112 exhibitors (134 according to some sources) displayed their wares on an area of some 2,300 square meters in the exercise hall of the "2nd Regiment of Foot Guards" in Karlstrasse in 1899. At this time there were 36 manufacturers of vehicles with internal combustion engines and twelve producing electrically powered vehicles. There were also 20 foreign exhibitors in Berlin, 13 of them from France alone.

Inviting the world: In 1899 the first Motor Wagon Exhibition with an international appeal was organized in Berlin (exercise hall, Karlstraße). The photo shows the cover of the catalogue.

“The first and oldest manufacturer of motor wagons, Benz & Cie., Rheinische Gasmotorenfabrik Aktien-Gesellschaft Mannheim, must naturally be represented at this exhibition, and has displayed a number of its vehicles which are attracting particular interest”, the "Schlesische Radfahrer-Zeitung" wrote about the 1899 exhibition. At this early stage in the development of the automobile, manufacturers still needed to convince people that his modern means of transport was safe: “Operation is completely without danger”, the "Schlesische Radfahrer-Zeitung" wrote about the “odorless petrol engine”, and there was no danger whatever of an explosion. It was also pointed out that steering required far less effort than a coach and horses, and that the two safety brakes made “immediate stopping easy and safe”.

In the following years, and despite the initial misgivings of the Germans, the IAA was occasionally named the "German Automobile Exhibition" and became a regular event. The car became increasingly popular. In 1901 the "Association of German Motor Vehicle Industrialists" (VDMI), a precursor to the present-day VDA, was founded in Eisenach. By now the fourth IAA was held in 1902, in the tramway arches of Berlin, with 86 motor vehicles on display. An event was held almost every year until 1911, and even two in 1905, 1906 and 1907.

Poster of the IAA 1902

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