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


Even in 1903 it was still the case that an exhibition first needed to publicize the car itself. “The opening of this exhibition has attracted a large number of automobile-lovers from all over Germany and well beyond to Berlin”, wrote the "Zeitschrift für Automobil-Industrie und Motorenbau" on March 20, 1903. The absence of “any accidents expected by the opponents of automobile travel” would greatly help “to gain new friends for the automobile and make it popular even in the widest circles. Accordingly the German automobile exhibition is indirectly furthering a noble cause whose effects will no doubt soon be felt to the benefit of the entire industry.”

The exhibition was held in the Flora Charlottenburg. In the Palm Garden, the most beautiful of all venues, early vehicles by Benz and Daimler were displayed in a historical department and flanked by more recent models: “A comparison ... truly shows us the enormous progress achieved by automobiles within the short time of not quite 20 years”, said a newspaper report. No less than about 20,000 visitors found their way to the exhibition in the Flora.

The nobility helps to popularize the car

The German aristocracy made a major contribution to the spread of the automobile after the turn of the century. While these traditional horse-lovers had still adopted a pained expression whenever the car was mentioned at the end of the 19th century, the events held by the "Imperial Automobile Club", like the shows in London or Paris, eventually became a meeting place for high society, and the middle classes soon followed. Although Kaiser Wilhelm II is said to have pronounced to trusted friends in 1902: “While I still have warm horses, I refuse to climb aboard such a stinking cart”, there were already three Mercedes cars in the imperial stables by 1903.

To mark the IAA in 1903, around 300 cars embarked on a "homage to the Kaiser". There were 115 exhibitors at the fair, which was officially opened by the car-loving Prince Heinrich of Prussia. In 1904 the fair was relocated to Frankfurt at the behest of the VDMI. The number of exhibitors increased to 170. The new six-cylinder engines made their debut at this fair, and special steels developed for cars also aroused great interest.

In spring 1905, Kaiser Wilhelm II himself opened the seventh IAA in Berlin. This symbolic act showed that the car had meanwhile gained acceptance at the upper levels of society. Prince Heinrich became the patron of the International Automobile Fair, taking the opportunity to inspect his new car on the Benz & Cie. stand: this made the dark-blue semi-limousine with leather upholstery, a model 40/45 hp with a four-cylinder engine built in 1905, the star attraction at the fair. In October an automobile and bicycle exhibition was also held in Frankfurt. The ninth IAA once again took place in Berlin in February 1906. Unfortunately the premises were unheated and only available during the winter, so another IAA was organized in November 1906 – this time in new, heated facilities by the zoological gardens.
Poster of the IAA 1904


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