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May 19, 2020 2:45 PM, EDT

IAA Commercial Vehicles Show Canceled Over Pandemic Concerns

IAA Daimler The Daimler display at IAA 2018. (Joe Howard/Transport Topics)

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The organizer of IAA Commercial Vehicles 2020 has canceled the truck show scheduled for Sept. 24-30 in Hanover, Germany, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The biennial trade fair is a vast showcase for international truck makers and suppliers, and attracts experts and decision-makers from the global transport and logistics sector, according to the Association of the German Automotive Industry, or VDA, the organizer.

“Europewide measures to contain the COVID-19 pandemic have fundamentally changed the starting position for IAA Commercial Vehicles 2020,” VDA Managing Director Martin Koers said. “Given the overall situation in Europe and worldwide, we see no possibility of carrying out the IAA in its usual form this year. This decision has not been easy for us.”

IAA

VDA reported many countries have travel restrictions that will remain in force for several months. Large events have been prohibited over the coming months in nearly all European countries — and face-to-face meetings no longer can be held at a trade fair, and particularly at the IAA.

Volvo Group views the event as a chance to showcase innovations, a company spokesperson told Transport Topics.

“However, it is of utmost importance to be flexible and adapt to this new, highly unexpected, situation. Health and safety is always our top priority, and COVID-19 has made this even clearer,” the spokesperson said. “This new situation allows us to find new ways of reaching out to stakeholders, and our digital efforts will be crucial for interaction with customers and others.

“Until we can safely meet face-to-face again, we will be meeting online to keep the dialogue going.”

Using virtual means to replace the product exhibits and face-to-face opportunities that underpin large industry exhibitions will be challenging, said Mike Roeth, executive director of the North American Council for Freight Efficiency.

“Manufacturers are trying to figure out how they inform and educate key stakeholders on new offerings in this new world. But for now, this is clunky and a real challenge to keep the product launch flow as was expected,” Roeth said.

NACFE typically helps lead about 60 industry events a year.

Nikola Tre

Nikola Tre by Nikola Motor Co.

Nikola Motor Co. planned to have a pre-production version of its heavy-duty battery-electric Nikola Tre at the Hanover show, President Mark Russell said.

“But it’s not a huge loss [with the cancellation] as that vehicle was unveiled in production concept in Turin [Italy] at the end of last year,” he told TT. “The really interesting next step will be a ride-and-drive production-intent version, which we will be able to show to the world at the next best opportunity. That date will be determined once the calendar firms up in terms of public events.”

The event’s cancellation comes as European truck makers face new emission regulations and regulators have called for alternatives to diesel engines.

The European Commission said it intends to create incentives for the adoption of zero- and low-emission vehicles as part of its toughening of carbon dioxide emission standards adopted in 2019. Truck makers will have to begin meeting the new standards in 2025 with a 15% reduction in CO2 emissions compared with an 11-month baseline that ends in June. The mandatory reduction increases to 30% in 2030.

In a recent blog post, Martin Daum, CEO of Daimler Truck AG, wrote, “The point when we, the transport industry, advanced most in cooperating with policymakers was when we stopped just whining and defending the status quo, and when the politics side started understanding the difficulties that we have, and our customers have with this transformation.”

Meanwhile, the next IAA Commercial Vehicles is scheduled to take place in 2022.

Between now and then, the IAA’s sister event, the North American Commercial Vehicle Show, also a biennial show, is set to go on as scheduled Sept. 27-30, 2021, in Atlanta.

NACV 2019 featured 393,100 square feet of exhibits from 473 exhibitors. It drew 8,466 visitors and was covered by 190 journalists.

NACV was launched in 2017.

The first IAA Commercial Vehicles was held in 1992 and attracted 1,200 exhibitors from 29 countries.

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