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Frankfurt Motor Show 2013 – Trends and Overview

Mon, 30 Sep 2013

The bi-annual Frankfurt motor show is always an exhibition of Germanic industrial might – for better or worse – and 2013 was no exception. Despite news of flat-lining car sales across Europe, the show was one of the defiant rolling out of new models. The number of production cars and production previews of cars that would be appearing in (presumably quiet) showrooms soon was impressive. But more impressive is that many displayed innovative thinking (relative to the industry), particularly in terms of technology.

But as well as all that was new, there was a return to traditional values. We're not talking about a return to retro, but a stripping back of the aesthetic excess that has spread through the car design world over the last decade. Sadly Lexus didn't get the memo in time...

It seems we are witnessing a post-crisis industry that, even if it's still some way from doing so, is showing encouraging signs of changing to meet new customer demands and market challenges. Those who disagree must witness the BMW i3.

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Volvo Concept Coupé

The three-box coupé is the most classic format in terms of vehicle proportions and the industry's return to simple elegance was perhaps the catalyst for their proliferation in the halls of the IAA. Many were traditional three-boxes, while the more adventurous such as Opel's Monza concept blurred the boundaries to create fastbacks. Purists everywhere rejoice.

Cadillac Elmiraj concept

Car-like SUVs/SUV-like Cars

Infiniti Q30 concept

The crossover movement appears to be meeting in the middle as cars push upwards with increased ride heights (witness the Infiniti Q30), while the the latest small SUVs reduce their visual ruggedness and offer more flowing, car-like upper bodies (see Mercedes GLA). The most extreme example is Audi's supercar/SUV hybrid, the Nanuk concept.

Audi Nanuk concept

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By Owen Ready