Auto Zürich is the largest car show in German-speaking Switzerland. Doris and Karl Bieri made it that way. After a two-year break, “her baby” will be awake again this week. In return, the trade fair has got a new, fresher look.
“Auto Zürich is my baby,” says Karl Bieri with pride in his voice. The 70-year-old entrepreneur from Zurich is the heart and soul of the largest auto show in German-speaking Switzerland. When it was first held in 1987, he was an exhibitor and co-organizer. Back then, Auto Zürich was little more than a garage exhibition with seven brands and 60 cars. “Still, it was a hype when Zurich suddenly had its own auto show. In the first year alone, 27,000 visitors came, »Bieri recalls.
In addition to his car dealership with seven garages, the man from Zurich is becoming more and more involved in the organization of Auto Zurich and ultimately takes over the management. Together with his wife Doris, he is transforming the fair from a provincial exhibition into the largest car show in German-speaking Switzerland. Bieri even gives up his beloved job as a car dealer in order to focus primarily on Auto Zürich.
“I was a car oiler even as a child,” said Bieri, explaining his passion for Auto Zürich. “I associate cars with emotions and want to share them with visitors.” That is why motorsport and tuning have always had their place at Auto Zürich. Classic cars were added in 2019. “Old beauties and the latest cars at a trade fair – a unique combination!” Says Bieri. Sure, there will be an Auto Zürich Classic again this year.
Karl Bieri is extremely pleased that Auto Zürich can take place again this week after the Corona break. “We waited until the number of infections went down, so we started the preparations about three months later.” Now the certificate requirement and the 3G rule – vaccinated, recovered or tested – make it possible to run Auto Zurich with almost no restrictions. “Visitors can feel absolutely safe in our halls,” promises Bieri.
In order for Auto Zürich to actually take place, it was important to find enough exhibitors. “We have a full house with 45 brands. Everyone is happy, because many garages have dispensed with their own exhibitions in the past few months. ” Zurich is experiencing Switzerland’s first major auto show in two years – since Auto Zurich 2019.
The Bieris used the two-year break to think about the concept and possible improvements. Result: A trade fair can also be more sustainable. The new stand concept manages without carpets. “We laid 20,000 square meters of carpet a year, which we unfortunately couldn’t reuse like the stands.” So that the acoustics are still right, the hall walls are now decorated with reusable curtains. “Together with new lighting, we can move the cars even better into the center,” says Bieri.
Little will change for the exhibitors themselves. You will continue to be provided with uniform stands. “It’s cheaper for the exhibitors than building their own stand,” explains Bieri, adding: “In addition, everyone is treated equally. For example, brands or retailers with a smaller budget are guaranteed a good appearance. That is what makes Auto Zürich so attractive. ” In addition to new lettering and reception tables for the brands, there are also small lounges where visitors can sit down in the midst of the new or old cars.
The new stands were built in Zurich-Oerlikon by the Swiss company Aroma AG. Bieri is already looking forward to the new look, which is an investment in the future of Auto Zürich. Because Bieri is convinced that a cheap national auto show remains a need. “It’s the best place where customers can compare models from different brands and get information.”
In addition, the “EV Experience” – test drives with electric vehicles – is a first step towards transforming automotive trade fairs into a live event for mobility. Bieri doesn’t run out of new ideas for his “baby” so quickly.