Every other year, Frankfurt hosts the world's largest motor show. The city is also less than five kilometres from Hyundai Motor Europe's headquarters in Offenbach. Think Again takes a closer look at Hyundai's "local" motor show...
China and the USA are both bigger car markets than Europe, but there is little doubt where the global motor industry's crossroads lie, especially when it hosts the world's largest motor show: Frankfurt.
Everything about Frankfurt or the Internationale Automobil-Ausstellung (IAA – International Automobile Exhibition) is big: with around a million visitors it is the world's No1 automotive exhibition for attendance, but it also sprawls across more than 10 exhibition halls – several could stage a well-attended motor show on their own.
Some manufacturers even take a hall to themselves, exploiting the space for live action demonstrations and extensive displays of their entire car range.
The show's total exhibition space is 230.000 square metres – enough room to play 32 soccer games simultaneously. Visiting journalists can cover large distances as they attend as many premieres and unveilings as possible on press day, and some tow wheeled aircraft cabin bags to carry their show brochures, press packs and computers.
Premieres, debuts and concept cars are the lifeblood of the IAA, the showcase for the biggest and possibly most influential car market in Europe.
Building an authentic experience for journalists and customers alike is not an easy job, as Andreas Brozat, Head of PR & BTL at Hyundai Motor Europe, explains.
"The night before the Motor Show is always my favourite. It has often been months in the planning, with logistical challenges to overcome, but once the final rehearsals are complete and the cars in place, you're ready to 'wow' the crowds.
"Location is all important, especially at such a big show like Frankfurt. Hyundai has a large booth that stands against the rear wall in Hall 06 – you can see it as soon as you enter the hall, but the important thing is it's not overbearing: it conveys the brand perfectly.
"Getting the word out about what's on stand is key for the PR team. Give journalists and consumers a reason to come to your stand – by arming them with knowledge about what they'll see, you increase the chances of more people visiting you.
"The day before is all about rehearsals and fine adjustments – once these are complete, you can get a good night's sleep.
"The next day, when the visitors are on the booth, it is important to make everyone feel welcome, but above all else, give them what they need: relevant information about your cars. This is much more important than gimmicks that are often simply thrown away."
"Don't be brash, either, with your entertainment. The days of the Show girls wearing short skirts are behind us. It's better to have a team who know about your products and can help your visitors."
Anyone visiting the IAA should also take time to see some of Frankfurt, a truly international and vibrant city whose warmth attracts tourists from around Europe.
For an authentic experience, Apfelwein Wagner on Schweizer Straße is a must-visit. Famed for its traditional décor and charming atmosphere, it has a menu full of hearty German dishes, including varieties of wurst and schnitzel – plus the famous drink that gives the restaurant its name! In warmer weather, the courtyard and garden are idyllic.
Those with more time available should head for the history- and attraction-filled Römerberg, undisputedly Frankfurt's most beautiful square. Römerberg highlights include Zum Römer, where emperors of the Holy Roman Empire were crowned and the Gerechtigkeitsbrunnen (Fountain of Justice), which was built in 1543.
The Palm Garden lies at the very heart of Frankfurt yet is filled with many of the world's most beautiful plants. It is an oasis of calm where the pace of the city can be left behind while its many different gardens also make it a wonderful place to explore.
Appropriately for one of the world's key commercial centres, Frankfurt is also home to the Bundesbank Money Museum which is full of thought-provoking and interesting exhibits.
Whether or not it's Show-time, Frankfurt will entertain you.