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Frankfurt's IAA motor show opens, German makers display wares

The International Motor Show in Frankfurt has opened to the press, and will soon be accessible to all. Despite more pressing day-to-day concerns, German carmakers are showing off far-flung concepts, hybrids and sports cars.

Watch video 01:24

The IAA motor show in Frankfurt opens to industry representatives on Thursday and to the public on Saturday, running until September 22.

Volkswagen showed off their new all-electric Golf, Audi resurrected its legendary Quattro name with a concept hybrid supercar generating 700 horsepower, while Opel unveiled the sleak "Monza" model designed to pep up its somewhat stodgy image. All three cars are featured in the DW video above.

Yet for major carmakers in Germany and elsewhere, the more pressing day-to-day concern is likely Europe's floundering car market.

"Currently the problem child is Europe," BMW's Norbert Reithofer said on Tuesday in Frankfurt. "For this year, I don't see a light at the end of the tunnel."

Daimler's CEO Dieter Zetsche struck a slightly more positive note, however, saying he thought the European car sales market had reached its lowest ebb, albeit predicting "a longer journey" back to past heights.

Volkwagen's Martin Winterkorn estimated that annual total car sales - across all marques - in Western Europe had shrunk by roughly three million cars since 2007.

The majority of German manufacturers have been able to offset their European difficulties with major growth in other key or emerging car markets like China, India, Russia, Brazil and the US. Opel, whose sales are heavily regulated outside Europe by US parent company General Motors, has suffered most from the drop in demand closer to home.

msh/ph (dpa, Reuters)