Review

RETRO CLASSICS® Stuttgart: Practically no reduction in the number of visitors despite a clash of dates with a market competitor in North Rhine-Westphalia

Organisers, exhibitors and visitors all agreed that the 18th edition of RETRO CLASSICS® in Stuttgart was a total success! Although the world's largest exhibition for historic and classic cars was held at the same time as an event in North Rhine-Westphalia, this only had a slight effect on the number of visitors: around 87,000 historic and classic car fans were recorded at the turnstiles, i.e. just 2 per cent lower than in 2017. Urgent building measures at the market competitor were the reason for the clash of dates.

Karl Ulrich Herrmann, Managing Shareholder of RETRO Messen GmbH, regards the stable number of visitors at the exhibition as an indication of continuous consolidation of the historic and classic car market: "It's no longer worthwhile speculating with garage gold, this hype is over. Classic cars are again increasingly becoming an investment for enthusiasts for whom driving pleasing and individuality are more important than a return on paper.“ According to Herrmann, this trend was noticeable during the RETRO NIGHT on Thursday evening which attracted a huge crowd of visitors.

International public

The catchment area of RETRO CLASSICS® expanded once again: this year, visitors came not only from neighbouring European states, but also from Australia and Singapore. On the whole, "Retro“ is becoming increasingly more international: around 15 per cent of visitors travelled to Stuttgart from outside Germany. This represents an increase of 25 per cent compared with the previous year. The majority of visitors came from Switzerland, followed by Austria, France and Italy. The biggest increase was from Austria.

In addition to the vehicle selling market (31 per cent) and the parts market (30 per cent), visitors were primarily interested this year in "Passione Italiana“ (24 per cent), the special BMW show (24 per cent), US cars (22 per cent), historic commercial vehicles & omnibuses (21 per cent) and, last but not least, Neo Classics® (20 per cent). These results were obtained during a representative survey. Herrmann was delighted with the figure for Neo Classics®: "This exhibition segment has become very well-established in the last few years. In view of such a scene which is opening up increasingly to a broad driving culture, it is an important growth market."

It can hardly be said that the historic and classic car market is saturated: although a large proportion of visitors to RETRO CLASSICS® already own one or more vehicles, 18 per cent of respondents said that they were intending to extend their portfolio and purchase one or more historic or classic cars during the exhibition. A good third of them (36 per cent) had already purchased or ordered something at the time of the survey while a further 6 per cent from this group were investing more than €100,000. It was shown once again that RETRO CLASSICS® is not just an exhibition for private collectors: the proportion of trade visitors (33 per cent) was roughly the same as in 2017.

Good buying mood, satisfied exhibitors

The exhibitors were accordingly satisfied: "Retro Classics® is a new experience every year," said Helmut Rehm, Managing Director of Herzog-Rehm Handels GmbH. "We met very diverse visitors with an increased propensity to buy at the exhibition.  Historic and classic cars are no longer just investment objects, they are also vehicles driven purely for fun. Everything was very well-organised; we received professional help regarding every request at all times. We are very satisfied and will come back again in 2019.“ Heinz Eberhart, proprietor of the Swiss supplier Eberhart Classic, also concurred: "Here in Stuttgart you meet visitors with a propensity to buy. We attended Retro Classics® for the first time and are very satisfied. The demand was good, and that was also true of our sales. Moreover, we were able to forge a large number of new contacts. In future, we want to present the topic of BMW even more here in the region of Mercedes and Porsche. We will be back again next year − with a larger stand!“

Positive feedback was also received from the visitors who spent an average of almost five and a half hours in the exhibition halls and on the piazza. 82 per cent of visitors regarded the programme of RETRO CLASSICS® as almost complete while 9 out of 10 visitors said they would recommend the event to other people. On the whole, RETRO CLASSICS® was awarded a consistently good overall mark of 1.8.

The next editions of RETRO CLASSICS® in Stuttgart (without any clashes of dates with market competitors) will be held from 7 to 10 March 2019 and from 27 February to 1 March 2020.

 

See what our exhibitors say --> HERE

2016

RETRO CLASSICS breaks all the records / international interest is growing / main market for the classic-car-scene

The 16th edition of the trade fair RETRO CLASSICS based in Stuttgart ended, known as the one and only main event in the classic-car and automotive industry. Exhibitors and dealers from the most famous and prestigious makes in the world, more than 800 journalists and 90,000 visitors from Germany and abroad visited Stuttgart Trade Fair Centre. This year, the 16th RETRO CLASSICS won the hearts and attracted the attention of experts and consumers once again, and was able to maintain its leading position as Europe’s greatest classic car Exhibition (certified by the Society for the Voluntary Control of Fair and Exhibition Statistics [FKM]).

Over 87,000 visitors at Europe's largest exhibition for historic and classic cars / Very substantial increases in top investments / More international Attention

The 15th edition of RETRO CLASSICS came to an end in Stuttgart on Sunday. The organisers are expecting a final figure of more than 87,000 visitors at the anniversary event, i.e. a marked ruse compared with the previous year (80,000). The now largest exhibition for historic and classic cars in Europe therefore again set a new attendance record. The number of exhibitors (1,500) was also higher than ever before.

According to Roland Bleinroth, President of Messe Stuttgart, "RETRO CLASSICS had generally made another significant step forwards." Karl Ulrich Herrmann, Managing Shareholder of Retro Messen GmbH and the initiator of RETRO CLASSICS, was also more than satisfied: "After all, we sell emotions rather than cars. Visitors and exhibitors alike were in high spirits."

Good spending mood and higher level of Investment

This was revealed during a computer-aided survey of visitors during the exhibition. 45 per cent of visitors had already made a purchase or placed an order at the time of the interview. The increases in the high-price segment were especially impressive: the number of people who mentioned an investment sum of €100,000 or more was almost twice as high as in 2014.

The exhibitors were happy to confirm the excellent spending mood: "The demand was overwhelming, and we concluded some good sales transactions," said Volker Schäfer from Mercedes-Benz Munich. "The Stuttgart public has high spending power, and we received specific inquiries on every day of the exhibition." Bernd Werndl, Managing Director of Arabella Cars, concurred with this: "Retro Classics 2015 was our best ever Retro - we are going home with 100 per cent sales success!" This was also true of the increasingly more popular Neo Classics segment. The supplier VOS drew completely positive conclusions: "For our company, Retro Classics 2015 was a good and successful event which turned out even better than last year.“

Stable interest, international attention

Visitors also continued to rate the exhibition in positive terms and once again awarded RETRO CLASSICS 2015 top marks (1.8; 2014: 1.8). Around half of all respondents believed that RETRO CLASSICS would become more important for the industry (49%; 2014: 49%) while nearly everyone said they would recommend the exhibition to other people (92%; 2014: 92%). The balance of interests was therefore astonishingly stable: 67 per cent were interested in historic and classic cars (2014: 64%) followed by the topic of youngtimers in second place (27%; 2014: 28%). With roughly one third of the visitors classified as trade visitors, Retro Classics 2015 also remained at the same level as in the previous year

The 15th edition of the popular historic and classic car exhibition proved its longstanding international popularity: 10 per cent of visitors came from abroad while the proportion of foreign exhibitors was almost 25 per cent. Increasing international attention could be felt, especially in the press area: 819 journalists, one third of them from abroad, attended RETRO CLASSICS 2015. This figure represented an increase of more than 100 compared with 2014.

 

The next RETRO CLASSICS will take place in Stuttgart from 17 to 20 March 2016.

 

RETRO CLASSICS 2014

Stuttgart car trade fair sets new visitor record / Increase in the number of foreign visitors / Long length of stay / Satisfied exhibitors and visitors

The 14th Retro Classics ended with new records on Sunday. Over 80,000 visitors attended the Stuttgart-based car trade fair, which not only means a significant increase in comparison to the previous year's event, but also sets a completely new record since the opening event in 2001. The average length of stay also registered a further increase: Every visitor spent on average five and a half hours on the trade fair grounds, according to the results of an initial visitor survey. A new record was also set on the exhibitor side with 1,428 exhibitors. 

"A good first run", joked Roland Bleinroth, President of Messe Stuttgart, as he referred to the "new management": Retro Classics was presented for the first time this year by RETRO Messen GmbH, a newly founded company of Messe Stuttgart and RETRO Promotion. Its managing partner and initiator of Retro Classics, Karl Ulrich Herrmann, described the trade fair as a "complete success". Retro Classics 2014 took another step forward".

 

Number of international visitors and exhibitors growing

In all this Retro Classics is becoming more and more international in character: According to the survey, 11 percent of visitors travelled from outside Germany - almost 20 percent more than in 2013. Most of the international guests came from Switzerland (31%) France (22%) and Austria (19%), as well as Italy, Czech Republic and the USA. The number of foreign exhibitors has almost doubled in recent years. Approximately 715 journalists from 22 countries visited the trade fair. There was great excitement in the press area about welcoming colleagues from Qatar and India.

Of the visitors surveyed 64 percent are interested in historic and classic cars. Youngtimers came in second place at 28 percent, followed by spare parts/accessories (26%) and restoration (20%). 67 percent stated they owned at least one historic and classic car; at the time of the survey just under half (44%) had already made purchases or placed orders. Investments over 100,000 Euro were at 4 percent. With roughly one third of the visitors classified as specialist visitors, Retro Classics 2014 stayed around the level of the previous year.

Very satisfied exhibitors and visitors

"The figures confirm that the offer is right", stated Herrmann. There was once again a high level of satisfaction: Almost all visitors (92%) are happy to recommend Retro Classics, 49 percent reckon the trade fair will become even more important for the industry in the future. The exhibitors were delighted not only with the number of visitors, but also with their willingness to buy.  "For the first time we were able to sell three vehicles by Sunday morning", stated Joachim Stickel, owner of the Rutesheim-based Stickel Pagoden-Center. "I am also expecting good follow-up business. Retro Classics went off without a hitch - we will be back again next year." Detlef Förster, President, Boxer Motor from Dotternhausen: "We are very happy with how Retro went, just like every other year. We concluded many sales! And also there were large numbers of customers this year, including a high number of specialist visitors, who are well-informed." Peter Kolbeck, Joint President of the Ismaning-based provider GT-A, raved about "excellent feedback" and the "superb quality of the visitors". "The interest was huge, sometimes you couldn't even get through the crowds! The trade fair was exhausting and stressful, but well worth it! We took home many positive impressions." Rainer Dschüdow, member of the management team of Pyritz-Classics from Frankfurt, was able to confirm this. He said he appreciates Retro Classics as a particularly pleasant trade fair. In addition to good sales and contacts, organisation, atmosphere and staff, he also praised the smooth running of the event: "There was no stress during the disassembly and construction stages. This is brilliant! We will be back again next year!"

For a long time now many people have considered Retro Classics as the number one among the historic and classic car trade fairs: "We are extremely satisfied", stated Jens Meseck, mechanic at the Kleinaspach-based company K&F Classic Cars. "It is no longer possible to compare other events of this kind to Retro Classics!"

This satisfaction originates not least from the personal dedication and commitment of the exhibitors. Herrmann: "The people have good ideas and these are rewarded." In addition to the Retro Classics Awards, a total of 25 awards were presented for the most formidable trade fair stands.

Very satisfied exhibitors and visitors

"The figures confirm that the offer is right", stated Herrmann. There was once again a high level of satisfaction: Almost all visitors (92%) are happy to recommend Retro Classics, 49 percent reckon the trade fair will become even more important for the industry in the future. The exhibitors were delighted not only with the number of visitors, but also with their willingness to buy.  "For the first time we were able to sell three vehicles by Sunday morning", stated Joachim Stickel, owner of the Rutesheim-based Stickel Pagoden-Center. "I am also expecting good follow-up business. Retro Classics went off without a hitch - we will be back again next year." Detlef Förster, President, Boxer Motor from Dotternhausen: "We are very happy with how Retro went, just like every other year. We concluded many sales! And also there were large numbers of customers this year, including a high number of specialist visitors, who are well-informed." Peter Kolbeck, Joint President of the Ismaning-based provider GT-A, raved about "excellent feedback" and the "superb quality of the visitors". "The interest was huge, sometimes you couldn't even get through the crowds! The trade fair was exhausting and stressful, but well worth it! We took home many positive impressions." Rainer Dschüdow, member of the management team of Pyritz-Classics from Frankfurt, was able to confirm this. He said he appreciates Retro Classics as a particularly pleasant trade fair. In addition to good sales and contacts, organisation, atmosphere and staff, he also praised the smooth running of the event: "There was no stress during the disassembly and construction stages. This is brilliant! We will be back again next year!"

For a long time now many people have considered Retro Classics as the number one among the historic and classic car trade fairs: "We are extremely satisfied", stated Jens Meseck, mechanic at the Kleinaspach-based company K&F Classic Cars. "It is no longer possible to compare other events of this kind to Retro Classics!"

This satisfaction originates not least from the personal dedication and commitment of the exhibitors. Herrmann: "The people have good ideas and these are rewarded." In addition to the Retro Classics Awards, a total of 25 awards were presented for the most formidable trade fair stands.

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.