Celebrating 20 years of the IZB – from a regional showcase event to Europe’s leading trade fair

When the first trade fair for suppliers was held in the CongressPark Wolfsburg back in early December 2001, with an exhibition area covering 6,000 square metres and attracting 128 exhibitors from six countries and 13,500 visitors, hardly anyone expected it to become such a huge success story over the years to follow. But just two years later, the total number of visitors increased to 24,500 and both the number of exhibitors and size of the exhibition area more than doubled to impressive totals of 286 exhibitors and 13,000 square metres. This successful development continued at full speed, transforming what started out as a regional in-house trade fair run by Volkswagen AG and focusing mainly on Germany into today’s IZB, Europe’s leading trade fair for the automotive supplier industry. At the last IZB, which took place back in 2018 before the postponements due to the Covid-19 pandemic, 838 exhibitors from 34 different nations welcomed 50,000 visitors in an exhibition area covering 38,000 square metres. “Wolfsburg’s role as an automotive location is an absolute success story, and the International Suppliers Fair has played an important role in this achievement”, affirms Dennis Weilmann, Mayor of the City of Wolfsburg.

Constantly growing global demand

Originally initiated by its SupplierLocationServices division, the IZB has been organised and hosted by the company Wolfsburg AG ever since the very first event. In 2003, the trade fair already outgrew its original venue, the CongressPark, and exhibition marquees had to be erected in front of the event centre. A year later, the event was renamed the “International Suppliers Fair”, and the “IZB” brand was born. “Now, 20 years later, the IZB is a brand name throughout the world of international trade fairs and exhibitions for the automotive supplier industry”, declares Wendelin Göbel, Spokesman of the Board of Wolfsburg AG.

As the demand grew on a global level, the space available in and around the CongressPark was no longer sufficient. In 2004, the IZB therefore moved to the Allerpark in Wolfsburg, where it was held in four halls and presentation rooms. Interestingly enough, the halls erected in the Allerpark for the IZB were Europe’s largest transportable halls and have continued to be used for the trade fair right through to the present day.

“Connecting Car Competence” – the central idea behind the IZB

From the very beginning, there were partner countries or regions at the IZB. In 2001 one started with Japan. The partner countries from 2003 to 2008 were Turkey, China and India. In 2010, the exhibition and programme of accompanying events focused on both the USA and Canada as partner countries before shining the spotlight on Argentina and Brazil two years later. At the eighth IZB in 2014, a partner region was showcased at the trade show for the first time in the form of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). In 2016, the event shifted its concept away from partner countries and towards key topics, starting with “Mobility Goes Digital” and moving on to “Think Digital” in 2018. The key topic of the IZB in 2022 will be “Connecting Car Competence”. “‘Connecting Car Competence’ – the central idea behind the IZB – sums up this mission in a nutshell: it is up to OEMs and supplier companies to work together to define the future of mobility”, emphasises Wendelin Göbel.

Ever since the first IZB, a congress has been held alongside the trade fair. Up until 2004, this accompanying event was supported by the Braunschweig/Wolfenbüttel University of Applied Sciences, now known as the Ostfalia University of Applied Sciences. From 2006 to 2016, it was organised solely by Wolfsburg AG. In 2018, the organiser of the trade fair welcomed the Institute for Production Management (IPM AG) from Hanover as its congress partner. In addition to the congress, a programme of specialist accompanying events and the Job Fair have also been traditional elements of the IZB since day one, as have the technical tour offered by VW and the patronage of the German Federal State of Lower Saxony.

“Establishing contact between suppliers to the global automotive industry here in Volkswagen’s home city, discussing the latest industry trends and showcasing brand-new products and services have been the main objectives of the IZB, the International Suppliers Fair, right from the start”, states Göbel, Spokesman of the Board of Wolfsburg AG. This core will also form the focus of the next IZB, which will take place at the Allerpark in Wolfsburg from 11th to 13th October 2022. The new IZB Media Center is being launched online just under a year before the event itself, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the IZB on 6th December 2021. The current exhibitor database will also be activated for all online visitors on this occasion.



Wolfsburg AG | International Suppliers Fair (IZB)

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