Pallegram | #11

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Servus, Munich! or, Why I’m looking forward to the IAA in Bavaria

The capital of Bavaria has just been selected to host the International Motor Show — and, with all due respect for Berlin and Hamburg, I personally think the VDA – the German Association of the Automotive Industry – has made the best possible choice!

I’m a native of Westphalia, so people might not suspect that I feel right at home with leather shorts, Bavarian beer, soccer, and mountain ranges. But that’s all right. I can at least point out that I actually own a pair of leather shorts, know how a “lecker Pilsken” — delicious draft beer from the Ruhr region — is tapped, have experienced a number of bitter losses by my team in Munich’s stadiums, and have climbed quite a few spoil heaps in my time.

These attributes might not qualify me for a job as the head of the Munich Tourist Office, but in fact they are declaration of love for a wonderful city. In the Ruhrpott — as the region is known locally — people like to express their feelings a bit more subtly, and teasing remarks are regarded as signs of friendship and respect for the other person.

I’m not hiding the fact that I’m happy about the VDA’s decision, and there are several reasons for that.

For one thing, I think that Munich has a great infrastructure and transportation connections. There’s no need for beating around the bush here; you will agree with me that these two are very important criteria for cities that want to host an event like the IAA. No compromises can or should be allowed in these areas, especially not during a period of fundamental transformations like those that are taking place in our sector.

Rebooting as an opportunity for change

But instead of spending several paragraphs congratulating one another, I’d like to make a few polite comments that could serve as food for thought.

Among other things, the IAA’s “New Mobility World” format has shown an openness to change for years now. However, personally I’ve always had the feeling that these halls looked bit lost… and that their message was “You can play here too, but please stay on the side stage.”

That has to change, and this kind of process can also be kicked off by involving the important mobility stakeholders in Germany across all associations. So why not invite the Allgemeiner Deutscher Fahrrad-Club cycling association to join us at the table? I wish it had already been included in the citizen dialogs that were held in the run-up to the IAA 2019.

Mobility, especially mobility in urban centers, has to be conceived more holistically, and from an objective point of view we can’t do that if we continue to stew in our own juice.

Shared progress can happen only through courage and understanding for other people’s point of view, and we should simply take advantage of this great opportunity together.

A new beginning can do so much good, and exactly that is what I wish for the IAA, the city of Munich, the exhibitors, and of course for the event’s venue!

P.S.: Incidentally, it’s hard for me to hide my glee over the fact that this gives us the opportunity to present our product range in our strongest competitors’ front yard! :)

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Sascha Pallenberg

At the age of four Sascha sat for the first time at the 24h race at the Nordschleife. Ten years later, in 1985, he went online for the first time. At least for a month, because then the phone bill surprised his parents. But at least this time still forms the foundation for his passion for the intersection of mobility and the digital world.

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