BERLIN -- German automakers participating in the Munich IAA auto show next month will attend the event with fewer staff due to the coronavirus pandemic and rising infections.
Some suppliers are concerned that important business meetings on the sidelines of the show will be cancelled as a result because their automaker customers are sending smaller teams to the event.
Volkswagen Group will be at the show with about 150 staff. About 70 employees are scheduled to be at the actual trade show, with about 80 people operating in the background. At other shows of this size, VW Group has often had teams of over 500 people.
"Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are sending as few employees as possible to the IAA," a VW spokesperson told Automobilwoche, a sister publication of Automotive News Europe.
Audi and BMW did not yet give specific employee numbers, but also said they will have a reduced presence.
An Audi spokeswoman said the brand would be on site with a "reduced number of employees."
Daimler, owner of Mercedes-Benz, will hold a pre-show evening with CEO Ola Kaellenius purely as an online event.
BMW is prepared for the "worst case scenario," according to a spokesperson, and could also show its show presentations entirely online. "Since new restrictions are possible again at any time due to the pandemic, we can also broadcast all our events digitally, if necessary," the spokesperson said.
Several suppliers expressed understanding for the reduced trade show teams, but said this could diminish the trade show's importance. "We do not even have half of the usual appointments with the carmakers' buyers," one major supplier told Automobilwoche.
Traditionally, the IAA, organized by Germany's VDA auto association, attracts a large number of suppliers. Among partsmakers attending this year are Robert Bosch, Continental, Schaeffler and Denso.
The show will be Germany's first major event of its kind in Germany since pandemic restrictions were eased but it is occurring at a time when COVID-19 infections are rising.
The New York auto show was canceled earlier this month amid rising coronavirus cases and new restrictions, marking the second-straight year the show has been canceled due to the pandemic.
The Munich show was already on course to be a smaller event after some major automakers said they would skip the event including Toyota and all of the Stellantis brands, including Opel, Peugeot, Citroen, Fiat and Alfa Romeo.