Auto Service World
Feature   October 1, 2014   by CARS Magazine


New exhibitor record and great interest in tomorrow's technologies

The 23rd Automechanika held this September was once again an outstanding showcase for innovations from the international aftermarket. This year, around 140,000 trade visitors from 173 countries, one in four of them from the workshop sector, took advantage of this opportunity to find out about the latest automotive products and technologies during the five-day fair. On the exhibitor side, the fair set a new record with 4,631 companies from 71 countries. “The ratings given by exhibitors have been outstanding with a significant impetus coming from outside Germany,” says Detlef Braun, member of the board of management of Messe Frankfurt. “However, German companies also see the current economic situation in a more positive light than in 2012.”

The number of international visitors rose by five percentage points to 60 per cent. Particular interest was shown by visitors in subjects such as alternative power trains, fully automatic digital reception processes, energy efficiency, lightweight construction solutions with previously impossible loading capacities, accessories, customizing, car media and 3D printing. Detlef Braun adds, “More than ever before, Automechanika in Frankfurt has shown itself to be a platform for the presentation of important, future-oriented technologies as the key to tomorrow’s developments throughout the entire automotive aftermarket.”

“As in the past, we are highly satisfied with the results of our presentation at Automechanika Frankfurt. The reaction of visitors was very good and the decision makers of the sector were in attendance over the last five days,” adds Dr. Uwe Hartmann, VP marketing automotive aftermarket, MANN+HUMMEL GmbH.

The fair also presented the latest products and developments from the world market in the commercial-vehicle field. In this connection, Detlef Braun says, “sustainability and environmental compatibility also play an extremely important role in the commercial-vehicle segment. For example, vans with previously unheard of loading capacities and weight-optimized electric refrigerated vehicles were to be seen here for the first time.” Visitors were delighted by the great potential of exhibitors in the commercial-vehicle sector, which was to be seen under the ‘Truck Competence’ label on over 1,000 exhibition stands, and by the associated special shows revolving around ‘Truck Competence’. About this, Alexandra Sommer, specialist aftermarket marketing, Knorr-Bremse Systeme für Nutzfahrzeuge GmbH adds, “Our concept for the fair was given a very warm reception and resulted in a significant increase in the number of visitors to our stand compared to the previous fair. Our simulator fits perfectly in the ‘Truck Competence’ segment at Automechanika Frankfurt. We are already looking forward to the next edition of the fair in 2016.”

Particularly popular was the ‘Collision Damage Talk’, the best attended event in the Automechanika Academy programme with 600 participants. Key players from the insurance business, including HUK Coburg and the newly founded German Partner Workshop Association (Bundesverband der Partnerwerkstätten – BVdP) and Deutsche Automobil Treuhand GmbH (DAT) also made presentations. The event was sponsored by paint manufacturers who returned to Automechanika after an absence of 12 years. “We have regained our confidence in fairs as a marketing tool and meet the world in Frankfurt am Main”, says Cromax sales manager Frank Forst.

More than 50 alternative-drive-chain pioneers from 12 countries presented their mobility concepts in Hall 10. Together with Prins Autogassystemen and Neste Oil, the German Liquid Gas Association (Deutscher Verband Flüssiggas e. V.) presented a bio version of LPG in a press conference on 16 September. Thus, ‘biopropane’ – LPG made of biomass feedstock – will be available from 2016 and help further reduce CO2 emissions.

Another magnet for visitors was the Galleria with a wide-ranging choice of basic and advanced training choices. For example, over 650 trade visitors from 36 countries attended the practice-oriented workshops on collision-damage management. As a participant reported, “The workshops exceeded my expectations! Messe Frankfurt has created a platform that not only provides specific information on topical issues but also enables visitors interested in these subjects to familiarize themselves with practical aspects of new technologies in a very short time.”

That social commitment can also be demonstrated at a trade fair was shown by an initiative of the ‘TEILEn e.V.’ (parts / share) association. Over 50 renowned companies from the independent spare-parts market have joined forces for a good cause and donated €250,000 to the Peter Maffay Stiftung, a charity for deprived children. The popular German rock musician accepted the donation personally at the fair and proved to be another magnet for visitors from German workshops.

“The primary goal of our presentation as a university was to inform the industry about our research projects. And we succeeded in this. Automechanika Frankfurt is the ideal platform for us in our capacity as the Chair for the Production Engineering of E-Mobility Components. For a relatively new subject such as e-mobility, RWTH Aachen and its pioneering projects have a key role to play,” says Ruben Förstmann, scientific employee, RWTH Aachen University – chair of production engineering of E-Mobility Components.

On the Friday and Saturday of the fair, visitors from the workshop sector made good use of the ‘Automechanika Workshop Days’ programme, which included a variety of technological presentations, workshop exhibitions and competitions organized, inter alia, by members of the Independent After Market Association (Verband Verein Freier Ersatzteilemarkt e.V. – VREI), e.g., Schaeffler, ZF and Valeo. Discussing the programme, VREI chairman Thomas Fischer says, “Together with our members, we succeeded in arousing particular interest on the part of workshop visitors.”

“We have been very pleased with the large variety of international visitors. The chance to meet both new and existing customers personally during Automechanika Frankfurt is very important,” adds Liao Wang, Marketing Specialist Europe, Exide Technologies SAS.

The next Automechanika Frankfurt will be held from 13 to 17 September 2016.

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