I was at the opening of IAA in Frankfurt and enjoyed fruitful exchanges with several lighting players. But most of all, I enjoyed the new concept and production cars presented, differentiating from each other through creative styling and new functionalities meant to exert their attractive power. Premium carmakers—Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche—lead this domestic show, but the other European and Asian makers—PSA, Renault, Toyota, Honda, Hyundai/Kia and the rest—were also shining. Energy savings are not forgotten; they speak to our brains while style and design are talking to our emotions. This September’s showcase looks totally different to the 2009 one during the crisis. The overall feeling is optimistic even if the European financial situation looks uncertain. 300 suppliers also took part this year among whom were Valeo, Schaeffler, Behr, Continental, Delphi, Denso, Sonceboz, TRW and some Chinese firms.
But the main thing I take away is the wonderful, spectacular lighting by Mercedes-Benz and Audi. The new Mercedes B-Class and M-Class, their F125 concept car, and also their wonderful driving simulator showing advanced driver assistance safety systems like intelligent cruise control and adaptive lighting. And I have still in mind the Audi show with its fantastic architectural design representing Audi car lines. There were production (Q3, A5) and concept (A2) cars showing lit DRL and rear lights. Usually the lights are turned off for a car show…not any more! Indeed, the IAA 2012 has to be seen mainly because it will help you to define your 2015 vision of automotive lighting.
I do have one particular complaint: the display staffers do not know anything about the lighting on the cars being displayed. Automakers need to close this gap in today’s strategy of using lighting to advertise their vehicles’ technical sophistication. That means educating the booth hosts so they can competently and correctly answer at least general questions about the special lights on the cars. There is so much information to be communicated about lighting. A DVN report coming next week will cover this issue. Those of you unable to attend the show will be able to discover all the fantastic models presented at Frankfurt.
DVN General editor