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A larger offer on automotive aftermarket activities saw a substantial growth at this year’s expo with up to four halls in play plus the outside expo area exhibits. The new Future Road and Scalex expo coupled to a large session of special conferences for the various trade bodies placed the fifth edition of South Africa’s leading international trade fair for the automotive service industry on a whole new platform of activity.

Johannesburg is just one of the 17 destinations over four continents that embraces the Automechanika brand which operates with a unique range of products and services that cover every aspect of the aftermarket theatre. With this year’s promotional events already having taken place throughout Africa, such as Zambia, Namibia, Mozambique and Tanzania, the up country contingent of visitors proved to be stronger than ever to add to the business friendly environment. Underpinning a large array of conferences the trade got in behind these platforms that covered in detail various sectors to enable debate and see the latest technical developments.

Naamsa were a key association to accommodate their 22 companies involved in the South African car and commercial manufacture of vehicles. They have also produced a strong track record of policy and dialogue with government.

Truck exhibitors racked up some good sales at Automechanika with 16 heavy vehicles from Tata, Faw, Scania and Hino who spent big on their first ever commercial show success. It was quite amazing to witness the new technology rolled out by the key players on each day of the expo by these road freight kingpins. First time show exhibitor SABOA, the South African Truck and Bus Operators did some excellent sales business at the expo.

International exposure to new technology saw around the same amount of Chinese companies attend the expo down in Hall 7. They presented a myriad of new things and at low cost from parts, gears, windscreens, gaskets, panel parts along with a large Taiwanese set of exhibitors. They were also boosted by specialist component and parts manufacturers from Germany too.

Collision Repair Business

The large Hall 8 played host to the major players in the refinish collision trade.  There were plenty of new systems on view for the repair of small dent removal to strengthen dings and minor dents.

Anest Iwata spray equipment had a special live air brush demonstration to couple with the companies recent new Lotus spray gun which attracted good levels of attention. Kanye Vimba showcased their new brand, Kovax, who have a comprehensive abrasive body repair package. They also displayed their Thero spray paint saving spray equipment. A new development saw the introduction of Harold Moore’s CRT Radical Equipment body panel repair package which had many answers on straightening body panel damage.

Saint-Gobain have been re-inventing repair solutions when it comes to the Norton brand’s activities. The new Cyclonic Multi Air dry flattening dust free sanding discs to reduce process repair time was one of them.

Aer-O-Cure had one of the largest exhibits in the hall with many new items to show. A special colour dispenser, the Daisy Wheel,  introduced a whole new method of colour matching. This digital rotary paint dosing method promises increased precision on formula retrieval and accuracy, plus paint optimisation levels the waterborne refinish too. It will drastically reduce evaporation levels with 100% automatic dispensing. There is no need for spraypainters or colourists to go back and forth into the colour matching dispensing area. Alex Lenaerts is upbeat about their new brand in refinish.

Car-O-Liner were also on hand in the presence of Adib Ketuly who was just one of the many international brand representatives to visit Automechanika. The huge Ero jig range was on view. It carries multiple approvals from the world’s car makers on body structural repairs.

Hurricane Equipment showed plenty of interesting repair techniques which included things right down to special pliers that pierce a paint tin to enable any painter to extract every last drop of paint left inside a can. Chassis straightening equipment, specialist welders and infra red paint driers were all on display. Company director Andrew Mackie said that on the spray booth front the company were moving upmarket with a new brand that comes with approvals and is manufacturered in Italy. The company posted excellent sales with three full body shop spray booth packages sold in one day at Automechanika.

With the appearance of their international president, Pierre Nicolau, the Celette repair brand was out in full force. Celette made some new introductions such as the Cameleon Self Customised solution dedicated jig system which operates with the Naja Electronic Measuring System. It has 3D CAD which means it measures the exact motor makers’ dimensions. Hubert Chambaud also came all the way from France to show the virtual reality spray painting systems. They have already sold over 50 of these to the U.S. market for partner training in virtual conditions. It is quite an amazing training aid. Repair and parts replacement is the Betag solution and they came from Germany to conduct live demonstrations with the easy-to-use Betag panel repair system.

The CRA membership was able to meet and visit the management team at the expo to discuss the road ahead on membership needs, which proved popular.

With the explosion of camera on-board systems, Wheel Alignment showcased many and varied answers to these repair headaches with the like of Leaderquip, Launch and Highveld Equipment who are all able and capable of addressing these new repair electronic radar aiming devices.

H and H Chemicals revealed a new range of panel wipes to get over problems of panel contamination. Shawn Heath also carried out  demonstrations of polishing with their Scholl surface final finish packages, plus their Starcke abrasive range.

Automotive Refinisher magazine also participated at this year’s expo and enjoyed the days with many out-of-Africa visitors who were all glad to be receiving Africa’s best collision repair magazine.

Klingspor, the big yellow brand from Germany, introduced a new Roll Box Dispenser and other dry flatting innovations in their abrasive technology line up which is all backed up by good stock levels and an enthusiastic team.

Karocle, the premier paint company Samhwa, is imported by Auto Korea in Edenvale. They came to the event with the Karocle brand of refinish. Simon Koo the general manager said that recent distributor expansions in the Cape area had been boosting sales of the paint which also carried full approval ratings from Hyundai, Kia and other major motor manufacturers. They showed their popular Starbase, Starcoat, fleet and plastic finishes along with mixing machine 2K acrylic urethane and comprehensive colour retrieval system. They have been making rapid inroads into the local repair business.

Looking at the overall result of Automechanika SA it is always the year’s highlight show and with over 200 top national repair shops visiting in just one day, many of the exhibitors wrote up good levels of business, even in these difficult and slow times. The outcome of this year’s expo was positive and that is surely good news for everyone in the aftermarket automotive car maintenance and collision repair.