The 25th Automechanika trade fair for the automotive aftermarket, held at the Messe Frankfurt exhibition grounds in Germany, ended on a high note on September 15 with records set for both the number of exhibitors and trade visitors at the five-day event.
The number of exhibitors at this biennial trade fair exceeded 5 000 for the first time – 4 843 exhibitors were at the 2016 trade fair – and there was also a new record for the amount of exhibition space utilised, which was 315 000m2. In all there were 23 exhibition hall levels as well as extensive outdoor exhibition space.
The event drew 336 000 visitors from 181 countries compared to 332 944 visitors from 169 countries in 2016. Approximately 10 000 of the visitors in 2018 were attending the event for the first time. Satisfaction levels were very high too, with 82% of the exhibitors saying they achieved their goals, compared to 78% in 2016.
The megatrends at the fair were digitisation, clean vehicles, and classic cars. This year also saw a record total of 120 submissions for the world-renowned Automechanika Innovation Awards, with 10 winners being announced. A new offering for visitors this year was the co-location of the famed REIFEN tyre exhibition with Automechanika Frankfurt for the first time. This also proved a big success.
Detlef Braun, Member of the Executive Board of Messe Frankfurt, said: “The feedback from our customers has been wonderful. Never before has the Automechanika Frankfurt trade fair been so focused on the future. All aspects of the automotive aftermarket – industry, retail and workshops – have responded to the megatrends that included connected vehicles, networked workshops, and clean vehicles, offering an amazing range of innovations for the international group of professionals in attendance.”
Braun said that the mood among the associations and exhibitors responsible for launching Automechanika in Frankfurt for the first time in 1971 was extremely positive. Numerous suppliers showcased the future of vehicle repair, including augmented reality, and several of them, including Robert Bosch, did so in the form of practical workshops. Manfred Baden, President of the Automotive Aftermarket Division at Robert Bosch, said that Automechanika continues to be the most important trade fair for the aftermarket worldwide.
Porsche, the well-known sports car manufacturer, was exhibiting at Automechanika for the first time and welcomed the feedback from the trade fair visitors. Robert Heismann, Director of Aftersales Business Development at Porsche, said: “We were able to present our innovations in the fields of electromobility and digitisation to a broad spectrum of the aftermarket here, and that is exactly what we were looking for.”
South Africa continued its long-running support for Automechanika Frankfurt through the offices of the Department of Trade and Industry (dti). This year there were 15 companies or organisations on the SA pavilion: Automotive Industry Export Council, CRC Industries, Eastern Cape Development Corporation, ERESA, Formatube, Jamsco Automotive Assemblies, Laser Mould and Die, Microfinish, National Association of Automotive Component and Allied Manufacturers, Proactive Marketing and Sales, Rock Solid Industries, Supreme Spring, Steel Best Manufacturing, Trailer Sol and Universal Clips. Four of these were newcomers, being ERESA, Jamsco, Laser and Steel Best.
“The 15 companies that exhibited on the South African pavilion at this year’s Automechanika Frankfurt trade fair not only generated business but also heightened awareness of the wide scope of the local automotive industry, both in terms of products and services,” commented Dr Norman Lamprecht, Executive Manager of the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa and Automotive Industry Export Council.
“Frankfurt was the only Automechanika trade fair where South Africa had a presence this year, as dti budgetary considerations prevented the country participating in Automechanika Dubai for the second year running. This was unfortunate, as we had been making good headway in penetrating the Middle East market,” concluded Dr Lamprecht.