The central theme at the world's largest showcase for the independent aftermarket in 2016 was ‘Tomorrow's Service & Mobility’.
A record 4,820 exhibitors from 76 countries took part, including leading players from industry, workshops and retail, and they offered an impressive demonstration of the ways in which the industry is changing as connected cars come to the fore. Detlef Braun, Member of the Executive Board of Messe Frankfurt GmbH: “With these impressive figures, Automechanika is continuing to build on its position as the world's leading platform for the automotive aftermarket. In addition to countless impressive smart vehicles that are already connected, the struggle for data was one of the hottest topics of discussion at the trade fair.” As a result, Messe Frankfurt launched a new format, “Connected Mobility”, an international road show that began on 15 September and which will soon be making stops in Shanghai and in Austin, Texas. One of the keynote speakers was Jeep hacker Chris Valasek, who is now the Security Lead at the Uber Advanced Technology Center. In his presentation, he addressed the tremendous importance of software security in connected cars.
Visitor satisfaction for the event was 95 percent. More than 80 percent of exhibitors were able to reach their visitor target groups. They were very happy with their trade fair participation overall. Both visitors and exhibitors – especially those from Germany – were extremely upbeat about the economic climate within the sector.
Dr. Uwe Thomas, President of the Automotive Aftermarket Division at Bosch GmbH, offered his take on the Repair & Maintenance sector: “The aftermarket and workshops are on the brink of a new era – for workshops, connected mobility is the wave of the future. As a result, the themes of networking, digitalisation and augmented reality were in particular demand at our stand this year. Automechanika is our platform of choice for showcasing the latest trends and technologies, as well as for demonstrating how Bosch can make workshop operations more efficient for the future.”
In spite of 3D glasses, virtual classrooms and interactive training elements, personal encounters are still essential. “Automechanika allows us to replace smartphones with handshakes. That is why this trade fair continues to be the most important event in our calendar,” says Dirk Willers, General Manager of the Spare Parts Division at ElringKlinger AG.
Numerous exhibitors reported that the quality of their talks with the approx. 136,000 visitors (2014: 137,982) was even better this year. Dr. Ulrich Walz, Market Director – ZF Services, fully agrees: “We are extremely satisfied, and both the visitors and our talks with them were of a very high quality on every day of the event. I am especially pleased that from the third day on, we enjoyed a particularly positive response from workshop owners and mechanics from Germany.”
Other exhibitors were happy about their contacts outside Germany. Rafael Tomás, CEO of Istobal: “There is no doubt that Automechanika is the best platform for establishing business contacts that extend beyond Europe.” As at the previous event, the international share of visitors was approx. 60 percent.
Tiemo Sehon, Managing Director of SEHON Innovative Lackieranlagen GmbH: “As manufacturers of painting systems and paint-spraying booths, we are currently focusing on optimising the overall efficiency and energy consumption of our products. At Automechanika, we were able to reach our current customers and to establish many new contacts as well, especially in South Korea.”
For Michael Scherzer, member of the Executive Board of FOLIATEC Böhm GmbH & Co Vertriebs KG, the trade fair is “always an automotive experience”: “From large car manufacturers to two-man workshops, the world of automotive accessories comes together in Frankfurt in order to find out about the ever more important field of vehicle customisation. The wilder, the better!”
With more than 1,000 people taking part, the ‘Schadentalk’ (damage talk) drew more visitors than any other event at Automechanika Academy. This noteworthy industry event saw leading representatives from the accident damage sector discuss the topic of invoices being reduced by independent inspection services for loss assessments, automotive services and claim control. Among those taking part in the discussion were ZKF President Peter Börner, Gerhard Witte (ControlExpert), Stefan Artz (Allianz Insurance / Service Partner Network) and Thomas Geck (HUK-COBURG), as well as other representatives from the Innovation Group, Global Automotive Service, German Association of Partner Workshops (BVdP) and paint manufacturers Axalta Coating Systems. For the first time, renowned industry suppliers exhibited products and solutions for process optimisation as part of the special showcase ‘Schadenstrasse’ (collision street).
Automechanika Frankfurt will be taking place for the 25th time from 11 to 15 September 2018, and REIFEN, licensed from Messe Essen, will for the first time be held alongside it, in Hall 12. Both trade fairs have been working together outside Germany since 2014, and will be taking place together at 15 locations in 14 countries in future, from Birmingham to Shanghai. In 2017 they will be held for the first time in Ho Chi Minh City. It is a move that benefits both sides – tyre retailers and workshops – because the industries are continuing to grow closer together.