The president of Automobile Barcelona, Enrique Lacalle, passionately defends the important role that this prestigious event plays in the trade fair calendar of the Catalan capital. A must for all lovers of the automotive sector, this year it revolves around the electrification process of cars and new mobility alternatives.
Was it possible to have foreseen that this year's Automobile Barcelona would be able to surpass that of 2021 in attendance of car brands?
Anyone who knows the Fira Barcelona team could have guessed it. We never give up, and we always keep intact the ambition that Automobile continues to be an emblematic show. Right now it is one of the largest in Europe, in a city that loves the car, which is part of its history, where we all remember going with our parents. What we are trying to do is improve, even though times are not easy, and I think we are on the right track.
Is Anfac's support the main key to success?
Being the only salon recognized by the Oica in Spain, as well as having a partner like Anfac investing in our event from the beginning is fundamental. We have renewed the agreement with this association, which brings together car manufacturers and distributors, until the 2027 edition. This relationship is very important, because many cities seek to have the motor show, but we have had it in Barcelona for more than a hundred years
Has sustainability become the most important vector in the automotive sector today?
If you analyze how we titled this year's show, “Electrifying”, everything is said. The world is going down this inexorable path, that of the environment, sustainability, reducing pollution, and we all have to go in this direction. Many new generation hybrid and electric vehicles will be presented at the Automobile, and any visitor will have a unique opportunity to try them out. The boxes are one of the great differences of Automobile, which allows you to test cars on Montjuïc.
Is Montjuïc still the best setting to organize a motor show?
I am absolutely convinced. Gran Vía is also an extraordinary venue, but for an event with a large audience there is nothing better than Montjuïc.
Does Automobile have to tend to be more and more commercial?
We have to help young people fall in love with cars, because they are the customers of the future. When we were young, our generation's first desire was to drive. Now things are different, the main thing is the smartphone. We have to help them feel passion for cars again, which are synonymous with freedom.
What is the main current problem of cars in Spain?
We have an extremely obsolete car fleet. Restrictions have had to be delayed in many cities, because the park is so old that they were unfeasible. We need to put effective incentive schemes in place to rejuvenate the age of cars. We talk about ecology and sustainability, but we do not promote aid to the automotive sector to improve things properly. We have the example of Barcelona, where everything that is done lately generates more pollution.
What can be asked of the next mayor or mayoress of Barcelona?
Recover the respected, admired, loved, envied, liberal, open and cosmopolitan Barcelona. It would be great to once again have a city where everyone wants to come, where everyone wants to live. This city has so much strength, so many extraordinary things to offer, that it would not be difficult to put it back together.
Can the arrival of Chinese brands mark a turning point in the European market?
For the first time, we have a good supply of Chinese brands in Automobile. Some models are very pretty, and therefore, it would not be surprising if they were commercially successful.
Is the transition to the electric car going too slowly in Spain?
We have too many brakes. There is a lack of aid to the sector. We do not have charging points to move with electric cars. What drivers do not want is to go on a trip and have problems because there are no chargers. Until the fear of running out of battery power disappears, it will be difficult for the public to decide to abandon combustion engines, although plug-in hybrids are a great option.
How could we define the essence of Automobile Barcelona?
This is a very useful show for the automotive sector. Basically, what it causes is the desire to visit it and change cars. We need to create the right conditions to renovate the park, an essential factor if we want to reduce the levels of polluting emissions and the safety of the vehicles that circulate on the street.