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Federal Chancellor's Opening Tour of IAA International Motor Show Reveals Innovative Power of this Key Industry


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FRANKFURT AM MAIN--German Chancellor, Dr. Angela Merkel, raised the prospects of support for her country’s automotive industry in the development of futuristic technologies. At the opening of the 63rd IAA Cars in Frankfurt, Chancellor Merkel explained her government’s objective of exploiting Germany’s potential as a 21st century car country to the fullest extent.

Matthias Wissmann, President of the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA), host of the IAA, underscored the importance of this at the opening festivities. “We see ourselves as a world market leader in innovative technologies. It is the aim of the German automotive industry to be at the forefront of environmentally friendly mobility”, he said.

Wissman also highlighted the Chancellor’s commitment to attenuating the consequences of the global economic crisis, “The Federal Government is making an important contribution to alleviating the consequences of the critical situation. Allow me to remind you, in particular, of the measures taken to support the banking sector, and the two economic packages that the coalition put in place.”

At the subsequent traditional tour of the International Motor Show, during which she was accompanied by VDA President Wissmann, Minister President Roland Koch and Mayor of Frankfurt Dr. Petra Roth, Chancellor Merkel visited the stands of Opel, Bosch, Peugeot/Citroën, BMW, IFA Maschinenbau, ZF, Porsche, Daimler, Ford, Volkswagen and Audi.

At the Opel stand in Hall 8 she was welcomed by Carl-Peter Forster, the President of GM Europe who introduced her to the new Opel Astra, which is celebrating its world premiere at the IAA. Franz Fehrenbach, Chairman of the Board at Robert Bosch GmbH showed the Chancellor the lithium-ion cells that form the core component for electric vehicles and that Bosch is developing through to production at high speed. On visiting the Peugeot stand, the PSA Brand Director Jean-Marc Gales introduced the Chancellor to the “iOn” electric car. In the new Hall 11, Dr Norbert Reithofer, Chairman of the Board of BMW AG showed Germany’s leader the fuel-efficient BMW 320 d, which can drive 100 km on just 4.1 liters of diesel. The Chancellor was also captivated by the “Vision Efficient Dynamics” concept. During her visit to the IFA Maschinenbau stand in Hall 4, she praised the innovative power of the new States, after being welcomed by IFA shareholder Heinrich von Nathusius who showed her his company’s latest joint shafts. ZF Chairman Hans-Georg Härter talked the Chancellor through his company’s new eight-speed gearboxes.

The next stop was the Porsche stand in Hall 4, where Porsche Chairman Michael Macht introduced Chancellor Merkel to the new Porsche Cayenne S Hybrid. The tour then progressed to the Festival Hall, where the Daimler Group traditionally has its stand. Daimler Chairman Dr. Dieter Zetsche showed the Chancellor the Mercedes-Benz electric car Blue Zero E-Cell plus, which is nearing production. Chancellor Merkel also learned about the smart electric drive technology.

At his company’s stand in Hall 3.1, Bernhard Mattes, Chairman of the Management at Ford-Werke GmbH unveiled the Grand C-Max, before Prof. Dr. Martin Winterkorn, Chairman of the Board of Volkswagen AG, welcomed the Chancellor to Hall 3.0, introducing the new 1-liter car and the new Polo Bluemotion, which emits just 87 g CO2 per km. The Chancellor also took a seat in the “E-Up!” zero-emissions electric car. The tour came to an end at the Audi stand, where Rupert Stadler, Chairman of the Board of Audi AG introduced Chancellor Merkel to the “e-tron”, a high-performance sports car that is powered solely by electricity, but from the outside resembles the R8.

At the Audi stand, the Chancellor reflected on her visit to the motor show, “I have seen more than just a glimpse of the future here at the IAA. It is a future that is intrinsically linked with being environmentally friendly. At the same time, I have felt the passion of those who are developing these innovations. The car of the future should bring joy. In this combination, the passion of the future will be for low-consumption cars.”