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New at Automechanika Frankfurt: the classic and vintage car business

Mar 6, 2017

Trade fair offers workshop visitors all they need for the classic car trade: parts, repair workshops, insurance and finance

Personalities in their own right, brand messengers, part of our cultural heritage; classic cars enjoy great popularity and represent a market turnover of some € 16 billion.[1] Automechanika Frankfurt will, at its next event, from 11 to 15 September 2018, be the only trade fair committed to covering the topic of classic cars from beginning to end of the value-creation chain.

At the world’s leading trade fair for the automotive service industry, everything related to the veteran, vintage and classic car business will be housed in Hall 10.0. This is an ideally situated location immediately next door to workshop equipment, paintwork products, repair and the REIFEN tire fair, which is to be held concurrently with Automechanika Frankfurt for the first time. Attending in the classic car section are the German Association for Bodywork and Vehicle Technology (Zentralverband für Karosserie- und Fahrzeugtechnik – ZKF) and the German Association for Motor Trades and Repairers (Zentralverband des Deutschen Kraftfahrzeuggewerbes – ZDK), offering a range of initial and further training. But there are also many parts and paint manufacturers, as well as insurance and financing companies – offering special provision for classic cars – who have already announced their intention to participate.

Olaf Mußhoff, Director of Automechanika Frankfurt, offers this explanation of the motives for including this topic: “We want to be a valuable business platform, capable of providing comprehensive information on the subject, for everyone who is keen to repair and maintain these historic vehicles properly and professionally. The repair of classic cars can be a really worthwhile enterprise for many German repair shops; you just have to know how to go about it. We want to bring those with a detailed knowledge of the area together with newcomers in the field from all over the world.”

Matthias Braun, General Secretary of Germany’s long-established Automobile Club (AvD), welcomes the initiative: “The club recognises the constantly growing importance of this market for car manufacturers, repair shops and parts suppliers. Automechanika is, therefore, precisely the right platform, on which to present the economic relevance of vintage and classic cars to an appropriate target group.”

The most emotionally charged market in the motor-vehicle sector

Classic cars are more than just a means of transport. Over 4,000 events relating to historic vehicles take place in Germany. Owners of classic and vintage cars see the care and use of their vehicle as a passionate hobby and are prepared to invest a great deal of time and money in it. According to a BBE study, classic car drivers spend, on average, more than € 5,200 per car per year. Over 60 percent of market sales represent emotionally driven purchases. And, for the automotive sector in general, classic cars make an extraordinarily important contribution to its image and meet with broad-based interest amongst the population. “New, emotively charged offers and economic solutions for customers with vehicles older than 16 years offer a solid basis for future-proofing one’s business,” says car-sales consultant Bernd Behrens. “The key is focussed professional knowledge and new services for the most emotional market in the motor-vehicle sector.”

Meet the classic car: a new field of business for workshops

With some 7.8 million vehicles, classic, vintage and veteran cars make up more than 14 percent of all existing motor vehicles on German roads. That is an attractive market for repair shops and car dealerships, who wish to make what they offer more appropriate to the marketplace. Up until now, however, only a tiny proportion of them have been able to call themselves ‘specialists in classic vehicles’. This is a distinction that the German Association for Motor Trades and Repairers (ZDK), in conjunction with the German Association for Bodywork and Vehicle Technology (ZKF), have been awarding to businesses since (2009).

“There are particular things to look out for that can bring with them existential risks for specialist workshops, when it comes to repairing and restoring classic vehicles,” says Andreas Grimm, Company Signatory and Head of Classic and Exotic cars at the Württembergische Versicherung AG insurance company. “As specialists and market leaders in the classic, vintage and veteran car insurance business, the Württembergische Versicherung very much welcomes the fact that trade visitors to Automechanika will, in future, be able to get expert advice, in one of the Halls at the show, on the insurance risks they may get involved with. A specifically targeted, all-round insurance solution can limit any potential financial impact to a minimum.”

Past with a future – new talents required

Automechanika Frankfurt has for years, offered extensive initial and advanced training at the show. In the field of classic cars, school students, trainees and those already working in the motor vehicle trades can get information about this market of the future in Hall 10.0. “Knowledge about maintenance, repair and restoration of historic vehicles must be passed on to coming generations,” says Peter Diehl, Special Adviser for Classic Vehicles, Aioi Nissay Dowa Insurance Company of Europe Limited. “A major trade fair, such as Automechanika Frankfurt, is an exceptionally suitable platform for this.”

The transfer of available knowledge and skills involved in working with classic cars joins forces, at Automechanika Frankfurt, with the use of the latest technologies and techniques: 3D printers have become a real game changer right across all sectors and offer new possibilities for the classic, vintage and veteran car markets. The supply of parts has been something of a challenge to date, since it is no longer cost-effective to produce them, either for ecological or economic reasons. The new exhibition section at Automechanika Frankfurt showcases individualised solutions for this trade, thereby increasing professional capabilities in the growing after-market for the classic car sector.

Other views on the new section at Automechanika Frankfurt:

Thomas Aukamm, General Manager of the German Association for Bodywork and Vehicle Technology (ZKF):
“A dedicated B2B exhibition area for classic and vintage vehicles at Automechanika Frankfurt is exactly what the event needed. No other trade fair is as international or as comprehensive. This new section presents an extremely emotionally charged and profitable area, which is becoming increasingly interesting for garage workshops and parts manufacturers alike. It is something that is also reflected in the membership of the ZKF and in its certification for garages specialising in classic cars, as well as in its collaboration, for this project, with all work involving paints, leather, wood and fabric. The step back into the past is, therefore, at the same time, a very positive step into the future.”

Gerd Heinemann, Managing Director, BBE Automotive:
“In the study “Classic, vintage and veteran cars as economic factor”, we were already able to show in 2013, that classic cars represent a market worth billions. That will continue to be the case, as new generations of enthusiasts emerge. The sector lacks structure, when it comes to the B2B segment. It is in this respect, particularly, that Automechanika Frankfurt may well provide the international platform for the sector.

Frank J. Isselborg, FSP GmbH & Co KG:
“Expertise in classic vehicles can be an important sales and marketing instrument. ‘Make money with emotions,’ as they say. By a process of consolidation and the sharing of technical knowledge through the skills network that it has at its disposal, Automechanika is all set to become a real centre of expertise and advice for garages’ own business development.

Juergen Book, Director Process Management, BASF Coatings GmbH:
“Our ‘Classic Car Colours’ programme addresses the specific requirements of classic and vintage vehicles. Glasurit is the sole ‘official partner’ for FIVA with regard to questions relating to paint and paintwork. Through our close partnership with those on the ground and our network of garages, we are fully aware that aspects such as ‘originality’ and ‘patina’ are very much part of the mood of the moment.”

Josef Bliersbach, owner of a specialist classic-car garage, Cologne:
“A great initiative that gets industry and the trade together and, where we can exchange information and establish links.”

Thomas Fischer, Executive Board of the German Association of the Independent Spare Parts Market (Verein freier Ersatzteilemarkt e.V. - VREI):
“We very much welcome this initiative. There have been some great vehicles produced over the last few decades, which evoke positive memories and emotions in the vast majority of visitors to the show. This creates an outstanding link with the issues of today and major developments in the future. Moreover, classic and vintage cars represent a significant volume of business in our sector, in terms of maintenance, repair and care.”

Dr. Axel Glanz, Managing Director, Glanz-Innovationeninstitut:
“The market for classic cars is growing rapidly. This means that the aftermarket for classic and vintage cars is becoming more and more important. We, therefore, very much welcome the fact that there is now an appropriate, dedicated platform for this at Automechanika Frankfurt.

Jim Meininghaus, Head of OEM Sales at GmbH:
“Our users at and MOTOR-TALK are becoming increasingly interested in more modern classic vehicles. The focus here is particularly on affordable vehicles such as the Golf 2 and the Audi 80. The boom in modern classics has great potential for dealers and garage workshops. We are delighted that Automechanika has created a platform to highlight the potential that exists in this segment and to make life easier for people seeking to buy and sell modern classics. So we are very happy to support Automechanika Frankfurt in their undertaking in this area.”

Andrea Zeus, Spokesperson for the German Association for Motor Trades and Repairers (ZDK):
“The ZDK has had a special classic-car display at Automechanika Frankfurt for some years now. We very much welcome the fact that the existing format is to be extended to include classic and vintage cars, which is an entirely sensible move.
An exciting area, that more and more garages are getting involved in. And this is an excellent opportunity for specialists in historic vehicles to get comprehensive information about the classic and vintage car business.”

[1] Study on classic vehicles “Classic, vintage and veteran cars as economic factor” (Wirtschaftsfaktor Young- und Oldtimer), BBE Automotive GmbH, Cologne.

Background information on Messe Frankfurt

Messe Frankfurt is one of the world’s leading trade fair organisers, generating over €640* million in sales and employing 2,364* people. The Messe Frankfurt Group has a global network of 30 subsidiaries and 55 international sales partners, allowing it to serve its customers on location in 175 countries. Messe Frankfurt events take place at approx. 50 locations around the globe. In 2016, a total of 138* trade fairs were held under the Messe Frankfurt umbrella, of which more than half took place outside Germany.

Comprising an area of 592,127 square metres, Messe Frankfurt’s exhibition grounds are home to ten exhibition halls. The company also operates two congress centres. The historic Festhalle, one of the most popular venues in Germany, plays host to events of all kinds. Messe Frankfurt is publicly owned, with the City of Frankfurt holding 60 percent and the State of Hesse 40 percent.

Further information on the company can be found at

*Preliminary figures for 2016