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77.000 people visit Retro Classics

Record: 77,000 visitors to Retro Classics 2013


Stuttgart's motor trade fair sets the standard / High praise for the trade fair quality / Meeting place for fans of classic vehicles / Internationality increased


The 13th Stuttgart-based Retro Classics motor trade fair held in the trade fair centre next door to the airport for the sixth time finished with a record result. With around 77,000 visitors, the outstanding result of last years was topped by nearly 20 percent. From an exhibitor perspective, trade fair attendance was higher than in 2012 with 1308 exhibitors and around 3000 vehicles on display this year. The space it needs now takes up the entire available trade fair centre with an area of 100,000 square metres plus the trade fair piazza and therefore uses all the available capacity. Additionally, the internationality of Stuttgart's Retro Classics has increased as proven by the numbers of visitors, exhibitors and approximately 700 journalists (2012: 618) from around 20 countries. Exhibitors came, for instance, from Austria, Belgium, Switzerland, France, Great Britain, Hungary, Italy and the Netherlands, whilst visitors travelled from Switzerland, Austria, the USA, the Czech Republic, France and the Benelux countries. Guests from Poland, the Emirates, Great Britain, Norway, Finland, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Sweden, Hungary, Italy, South Africa, Brazil, Argentina, Korea and China were also welcomed at the stands in the eight trade fair halls. A total of approximately 11 percent of international visitors were registered, thereby approximately doubling the figure from last year.


"The 13th Retro Classics has lived up to the high expectations without any doubt at all, it was an all-round successful event", said Roland Bleinroth, Managing Director of Messe Stuttgart: "Our motor trade fair has again gained in quality and internationality, in terms of exhibitors as well as visitors." Additionally, its brand name as a "premium event" has been confirmed. This included well informed visitors with a strong will to purchase, and a pronounced trade fair profile which "shows a clear difference between us and other historic and classic cars fairs." In the end, visitors were not only delighted at the sight of the many vehicles, but they also bought them. The majority of the approximately 500 vehicles at the dealers' sales marts in Hall 6 as well as those for private sale at the Motor Gallery in the L-Bank-Forum (Hall 1) found new owners. As early as Friday evening the "Verkauft" and "Sold" signs were hanging on many cars in the historic and classic cars, youngtimers and neo classics segments with many sales being conducted particularly in the high-price segment. For instance, a Horch was sold for 1.8 million euros, and several cars in the range between 500,000 and 950,000 euros. The most expensive vehicle sold was a Ferrari that found a new owner for "somewhere between one and ten million euros". The dealer declined to give further details. But sales were also good at the more affordable price levels. Clear statement: one fifth of all visitors to the trade fair surveyed (2012: 17 percent) wanted to buy at least one new classic car. Four percent of them said they were even prepared to spend more than 50,000 euros. 43 percent of visitors had already made a purchase at the time of the interview.


Exhibitors more than satisfied with the way the trade fair went
The willingness to spend was also detected by the exhibitors who praised the high quality of the visitors. Arthur Bechtel, Owner of Arthur Bechtel Classic Motors: "Retro 2013 went very well for us, we had a tremendous response. I think that many people are buying a classic car as an investment asset at the moment. Bank interest rates are low, car prices are increasing. As early as Sunday morning we had sold four cars and received further enquiries. Our trade fair book is certainly well filled. We are very satisfied." Maria Beck, Communication Group Leader at Bosch: "At our main stand we presented primarily the Bosch image, in Hall 9 we sold parts and answered detailed questions. This division was very new and it impacted like a bombshell – people were queueing up. On the whole, visitors have become more international, and we had a higher visitor flow at both stands. We have identified this trend year on year." Harald Henninger, Managing Director of Mirbach: "Overall, we are extremely satisfied. For instance, we sold an Alfa 6C of which there are only a few left. There were more visitors at our stand than last year, and the visitor quality and internationality were also better." Peter Wiesner Owner of Sports & Classic Cars: "We are very satisfied. By Sunday morning we had sold four cars and also had a fixed offer for a fourth. The war chest is therefore filled. We found high-carat, very well informed visitors here willing to spend money. The top goods in particular are very well received at Retro Classics." Nik Aaldering, Owner of The Gallery from the Netherlands: "The trade fair went fantastically, we achieved good sales. Retro Classics is an important trade fair for us. The difference to other fair locations is the ambience. This good atmosphere can only be found in Stuttgart. The organization is absolutely first-class, one feels welcome and works enthusiastically towards the date." Karl Geiger, Owner of Geiger Cars: "The marketing was perfect, it couldn't have been better. We had fantastic, financially strong visitors and achieved some good sales. We were fully in the race here with our cars. We were practically sold out as early as Sunday morning. The visitors took great pleasure in automobiles and asked very specific questions. A perfect visitor mix! We'll definitely be here in 2014." Alexander Fabig, General Manager of Porsche Classic: "There were many meaningful discussions with potential buyers. Particularly our highlight area on the subject of the 911 was absolutely besieged, but our autograph sessions with Hans Herrmann were also very well received – visitors stood in queues. We are certainly extremely satisfied, also with the overall development of the trade fair. Super!" Alfred Vogel, President of the Federal Association of the Historic Agricultural Machinery Germany (BHLD)and Honorary Chairman of the association Bulldog- und Schlepperfreunde Württemberg: "Bulldog- und Schlepperfreunde Württemberg were highly praised by the knowledgeable visitors for their special show this year. The association with support from the Lake Constance Tractor Museum, the Sinsheim and Speyer Automotive and Technology Museums, the German Agricultural Museum in Hohenheim and the Lanz specialists from Westerwald were able to present many rarities. True to the motto 'After the trade fair is before the trade fair' we are already thinking about our appearance at Retro Classics 2014."


Meeting place for the historic and classic car scene
"Retro Classics is the meeting place for the start of the season of the historic and classic cars scene in Germany, and it attracts visitors from far beyond the borders of Baden-Württemberg", said Karl Ulrich Herrmann, Organizer of Retro Classics. The number of visitors and the exhibitor satisfaction proved him right. And the visitors were delighted with the historic vehicles on two and four wheels as well as with the special shows such as the "Delahaye" exhibition unique in Germany, the "Horch Show", the US Cars Hall and special subjects such as "Hoffmann & Küchen", "50 Years of Porsche 911" and Mercedes-Benz S Class.


Approximately two thirds of visitors are in their prime years in economic terms between 30 and 60, furthermore around 30 percent of all visitors were at Retro Classics for the first time, but certainly not the last. Stuttgart's motor trade fair has furthermore built up a loyal core of visitors and they were also more than satisfied with the exhibition. A total of over 90 percent of surveyed visitors intended to recommend Retro Classics further and 96 percent plan on coming to Retro Classics 2014, nearly 80 percent of them "definitely". One visitor in two is additionally certain that Retro Classics will become even more important compared to other events. They find that what the historic and classic car heart desires, which is why 84 percent regard the exhibition as being complete. Consequently, visitors awarded Retro Classics the grade of 1.7.


Long times spent in the trade fair halls
Fair attractions and special sections prompted visitors to extend their visit to the halls; on average they spent far more than five hours at the trade fair. With good reason, because the special sections and new attractions were really good. Many fans of historic and classic cars visited the "Club and Countries Halls" with car brands and rarities from Germany, Sweden, Italy, France, the USA and England; additionally, special motor racing stands were represented, some with traditional associations such as the Hockenheim Ring and AMSC Leonberg. The sixth appearance of the Historic Tractors and Agricultural Machinery as well as the Commercial Vehicles special section with the omnibus show in Hall 8 set up by Konrad Auwärter were extremely well received. Not to forget the international spare parts markets whose exhibitors were overwhelmed by the frequency and visitor interest.


33 percent trade visitors / more and more international guests
Unique, were the statements made by many exhibitors about the visitors to Retro Classics who were characterized by a high level of expertise and detailed technical knowledge. This was confirmed by first evaluations of the survey results. For instance, the proportion of trade visitors who came to the trade fair for professional or business reasons increased from 30 to 33 percent (without a "Family Sunday"). Interesting that nearly two thirds of surveyed visitors possess at least one historic and classic car. As early as a good half-hour after the opening of a trade fair at the weekend the trade fair piazza was completely filled as a "free car park". A total of around 2000 historic and classic car fans who arrived in their own cars provided additional enrichment to the trade fair. International interest in Retro Classics has also significantly increased. The proportion of international visitors has nearly doubled. 33 percent of international visitors originated from Switzerland, 18 percent travelled to Stuttgart from France and 17 percent from Austria. It was also noticeable that seven percent of the visitors came to Retro Classics from Italy. In addition, there were many groups who travelled to Retro Classics with the bus from throughout Southern Germany, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Belgium or Alsace.


The topics addressed in the eight halls were extremely well received by visitors, as well as was the combination of tradition, the car cultural asset along with an appropriate selection of exclusive modern vehicles that therefore documented the development of a brand. The interests of visitors was catered for by nine focusses such as the US Cars Hall: again with success: 22 percent of surveyed visitors were very much enthralled by this attraction. In addition to the historic and classic cars, which was the main point of interest for 63 percent of visitors, the youngtimers took second place with 35 percent followed by spare parts and accessories as well as restoration. Multiple responses were possible.


The next Retro Classics, number 14, will take place from 13 to 16 March 2014 in the Stuttgart trade fair centre, with 13 March being the special day ("Preview Day") for trade visitors and journalists. Of course, other visitors will also be welcome in Stuttgart on this day.


Retro Classics is certified by the Society for Voluntary Control of Trade Fair and Exhibition Statistics (FKM); it has compiled standard regulations for the calculation of exhibitor, area and visitor figures, as well as visitor structures, and allows its compliance of the regulations to be checked by the auditing company Ernst & Young.

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