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Over 57,000 enthusiasts of historic and classical cars at the trade fair for historic and classic cars in Stuttgart / International character continues to increase

The ninth Retro Classics trade fair, the international exchange for historic and classic cars, motorcycles, spare parts and restoration, took place at the weekend for the second time at the new Stuttgart Trade Fair Centre, located directly beside the airport and came to a close on Sunday, 15 March registering record figures. With over 57,000 visitors, the previous year’s excellent result was exceeded by approximately 15%. The trade fair also registered a record number of exhibitors with over 1,050 participants (2008: 820), whose requirement for floor space therefore increased from 75,000 to 100,000 m². Also, the international character of the trade fair for historic and classic cars was complemented with visitors and exhibitors coming from around 15 countries to the trade fair. New exhibitors came from, for example, the Netherlands, Hungary and Belgium, and visitors from neighbouring countries Switzerland, Austria, France and Luxembourg, were welcomed at the trade fair. Also guests from the Czech Republic, Russia, Poland, England, Portugal, Mexico, Indonesia and Dubai were made feel welcome at the stands in the eight trade fair halls.

"Retro Classics more than lived up to its high expectations", stated Roland Bleinroth, Managing Director of Messe Stuttgart, gladly. On Sunday morning (March 15), Bleinroth drew the first positive conclusion to the event. "Our historic and classic cars trade fair has again enjoyed a surge in quality, quantity and international character, which affects both exhibitors and visitors alike, and its superior image as a premium exhibition has been enhanced." This includes a top-quality visitor audience with strong purchasing power, as well as a clear exhibitor profile, which "distinguishes us from other historic and classic cars trade fairs". He went on to say that, in the end, the visitors were not only delighted at the sight of the many vehicles but also "purchased historic and classic cars, as well as youngtimers, in spite of the current economic climate". Thus, the majority of the approximately 400 cars at the exchange, which had its own hall for the first time, found new owners and the dealers were also extremely satisfied. A pre-war car as an investment, for example, was worth approximately 500,000 Euro to one visitor. Klaus Kienle, Managing Director of Kienle Automobiltechnik GmbH in Ditzingen and one of the world’s leading Mercedes’ restorers, aptly summed it up: "In the future, I will only exhibit at a historic and classic cars trade fair in Germany, and that will be Retro Classics in Stuttgart." He went on to say that all his customers come to Stuttgart not only because of the excellent infrastructure but also because they think "why should I go elsewhere?". A high-ranking member of the Executive Board of Robert Bosch GmbH expressed a similar view stating that he would only be attending one historic and classic cars trade fair and that was namely Retro Classics in Stuttgart.

"No ifs and buts about it, Retro Classics has established itself as the central meeting point for the historic and classic car scene in south Germany and has gained a reputation far beyond", stated Ulrich Herrmann, organiser of Retro Classics. The high number of visitors proves this. The public enjoyed 2,500 historic and classic cars on two and four wheels, as well as special shows such as "100 years of Bugatti", "100 years of Abarth" and a unique assortment of approximately 30 Ferraris. The new trade fair hall dedicated especially to motor sports, where the theme was displayed for the first time, straight away impressed fans of historic and classic cars, as well as current fast cars. "We will stick with this concept and further develop it in the coming year for the anniversary event of Retro Classics", stated Herrmann. The second appearance of historic and classic tractors and agricultural machinery, as well as the special area for fire engines and the omnibus show put together by Konrad Auwärter, were well received by the public.

The Stuttgart historic and classic cars trade fair has, in the meantime, developed a regular visitor profile. Retro Classics was worth the visit for 94 percent of visitors and they will recommend the event to others. Overall, 96 percent of visitors surveyed will visit the trade fair again in 2010. Almost half of the visitors surveyed are very sure that Retro Classics will gain in significance.

Extensive trade fair visit

The trade fair attractions and special areas on the significantly larger exhibition area encourage visitors to stay longer in the halls. On average, visitors spent five and a half hours at the trade fair. And with good reason too because the special areas and new attractions were impressive. There were also throngs of visitors at the factory stands from, for example, Peugeot, Skoda and Bosch. Many historic and classic car fans visited the two-wheel area, in which the spectrum of motorcycles ranged from the originals at the beginning of the 20th century to current and historic and classic models from brands such as Moto Guzzi, Heinkel, Agusta, Honda, Suzuki and Harley-Davidson. The "Country Halls" with car brands from France and England were also a visitor magnet. In addition, clubs from the Czech Republic and, for the first time, Russia, as well as the special racing stands, among others, with the traditional clubs "Solitude Revival" were represented. Five teams from the Mercedes-Benz Club in Moscow under the management of Ewgenij Soroka made the 2,500-kilometre long trip to Stuttgart and visited clubs in Minsk, Berlin and Prague along the way.

Top-quality visitors / Increase in foreign visitors compared to last year

According to many of the exhibitors, the visitor profile for Retro Classics was unique. It was characterised by expert visitors who had distinctive specialist knowledge. The initial results from the survey confirm this. 32 percent of visitors came to the trade fair for professional or business reasons (excluding "Family Day on Sunday"). Foreign interest also did not decline. In contrast: The number of foreign visitors continues to grow. 34 percent of foreign visitors came from Switzerland and another 31 percent travelled from Austria to Stuttgart.

A must-see event for historic and classic car fans

Thanks to the positive feedback received from exhibitors and the increase in the number of visitors, the Managing Director of Messe Stuttgart, Roland Bleinroth, stated, with a view to the possibilities offered by the new Stuttgart Trade Fair Centre, that the basis for the Retro Classics trade fair, which was set in 2001, can be further developed. Ulrich Herrmann was of the same opinion and added "Retro Classics is firmly rooted as a must-see event for fans and people who are enthusiastic about historic and classic cars. It will definitely develop to become the central meeting point for all historic and classic car events in south Germany. Apart from this, the event is being accepted and welcomed more and more in neighbouring countries. Thus, from an international perspective, we are definitely heading in the right direction". He went on to say that the hall themes were well received from the word go, as was the combination of tradition, car legends and an apt selection of new vehicles, which, in this way, documented the development of a brand. With the two central themes, "Youngtimers" and "Neo Classics" (modern and classic cars), which were prominently positioned within this year’s Retro Classics, the number of visitors rose significantly, he added. In the Youngtimer area, the interest grew significantly. After historic and classic cars, in which 75 percent of visitors were primarily interested, the theme of Youngtimers came in at second place with 58 percent ahead of spare parts/accessories (34 percent) and restoration (25 percent). (Multiple answers were possible here.)

Catchment area clearly expanded / Every seventh visitor from Bavaria

The obvious need for the historic and classic car trade fair in Stuttgart is reflected in the origin of its visitors. 36 percent of trade fair visitors surveyed (2008: 25 percent) did not come from Stuttgart or its surrounding area, but rather travelled a distance of more than 100 kilometres to the new trade fair grounds. Nine percent took on a journey of more than 300 kilometres to attend the event. These visitors came from locations beside Baden- Württemberg such as Bavaria, Hesse, Rhineland-Palatinate and North Rhine Westphalia, with every seventh visitor coming from Bavaria. The motorway and airport connections to the trade fair received much praise. From an economic perspective, approximately 70 percent of visitors were aged between 30 and 60 years. In addition, roughly a quarter of all visitors were attending Retro Classics in Stuttgart for the first time, but certainly not the last.

The next Retro Classics, the tenth such trade fair and therefore an anniversary event, will take place from 11 to 14 March 2010 at the new Stuttgart Trade Fair Centre. The 11th March will mark a special day ("Preview Day") for specialist visitors and journalists.