SXSW and Mercedes-Benz Will Lead A Joint Tech Conference At The Frankfurt Auto Show

AUSTIN, Texas - South by Southwest, the Austin, Texas-based tech jamboree held every March, will venture out of the Longhorn State for the first time, partnering with Mercedes-Benz to host a tech conference at the International Motor Show in Frankfurt in September.

The three-day event, called the “me Convention” will focus on the future of mobility and its implications for “every aspect of the 21st century social fabric,” according to the carmaker. The partnership between one of the world’s oldest automakers and the popular tech carnival represents a significant departure from the traditional auto show model, a billion-dollar industry.

“We’ve been doing these auto shows for 100 years, and they’re evolving,” said Dieter Zetsche, chairman of Daimler AG’s Board of Management and head of Mercedes-Benz Cars, after announcing the partnership at the SXSW conference on Friday.

The world’s leading automotive shows have lost ground in recent years to fresher tech events. In January, several automakers chose to stage their most significant reveals at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas a week ahead of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, which historically has opened the auto show season.

Across the country, the Los Angeles Auto Show is taking a proactive approach this year, hosting a four-day tech event called AutoMobility LA before the car show begins. The conference will bring together carmakers, tech companies, entrepreneurs, designers, developers and investors under the umbrella of discussing the future of transportation, including ridesharing, infotainment, and autonomous vehicles.

Mobile World Congress, which took place in Barcelona last week, is also becoming an increasingly popular venue for automotive thought leaders from Ford, Volkswagen, and other car companies to discuss next-generation mobility.

Details on the me Convention at the Frankfurt auto show are scant, but Mercedes has already announced event’s hashtag: #createthenew.