Chronology: Mercedes-Benz at the Salon Mondial de l´Automobile in Paris
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The Stuttgart manufacturer remains a loyal supporter of the Salon since its inception in 1898

Always an occasion for grand premieres
The cradle of the automobile is French. So, too, was the first motor show. Confident words from the organizers of the 2006 Salon Mondial de l´Automobile in their brief outline of the history of the Paris Motor Show. Mobilitys fairytale journey with the automobile, they continue, began in France. And the Paris Show has always remained a steadfast accompaniment to the industrys towering achievements.
Although the car was invented almost simultaneously in 1886 by Karl Benz and Gottlieb Daimler, early successes and ultimate breakthrough for the innovative means of transportation from Germany can indeed be ascribed to the neighbors across the border in France. Whereas Germans initially viewed the automobile with a good deal of skepticism, it received a warm welcome from the more fashionable, technology-loving Parisian society. It was with some justification, therefore, that an internal document from Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft (DMG) dated 1902 described France as: the number one country of automobilism since in no other country had the car gained anywhere near as firm a foothold as there.

Albert de Dion co-founded the Automobile Club de France in November 1895, and in 1898 this organization established the worlds first International Motor Show on the terraces of the Jardin des Tuileries in Paris. Staged from June 15 to July 3, the 232 vehicles exhibited attracted 140,000 admiring visitors. And in order to persuade the public of the efficiency of this new form of transportation, the car manufacturers even offered test drives to Versailles 20 kilometers away.

The first issue of the magazine Der Motorwagen (The Motor Car) published the following account of the exhibition: At this dazzling display of gasoline-powered motor cars it is perhaps only right that one should pay homage to the contributions made by the German engineers, Benz in Mannheim and Daimler in Cannstatt, in introducing and to some extent facilitating the spread of these vehicles in France something that is always freely attested there both in specialist literature and by those working in the industry.

It is certainly fair to say that two German engineers can also be considered the founders of the French automotive industry. With the assistance of French business partners, the pair presented their vehicles at the 1889 World Exposition in Paris. Representation by Emil Roger in the dying years of the nineteenth century played a major part in the distribution of Benz automobiles, and the Frenchmen Rn Panhard and mile Levassor used Daimler engines in their own car designs to secure for themselves the reputation as Frances first motor car manufacturers. At the first International Motor Show the French Automobile Club collected a sum of 30,000 Francs to erect a monument to mile Levassor, the automobile pioneer who died as the result of a racing accident in 1897.

The Daimler Motor Car Company brought to the exhibition two Victoria cars and a heavy-duty truck for five-tonne loads,wrote Der Motorwagen at the time of the first motor show in Paris. In terms of engine noise and performance these vehicles were far superior to French products. The magazine reported that Benz automobiles were also represented at the first Paris Motor Show: The Maison Parisienne company of Paris exhibited a number of extremely attractive vehicles with between two and twelve seats. This company is mainly involved in the distribution and fitting of engines from the Rheinischen Gasmotorenfabrik Benz & Co. (Mannheim) in France and has achieved very significant successes on behalf of the parent company.

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