Olaf Mußhoff, you are the director of Automechanika. What makes Automechanika Frankfurt the right platform for an innovation award?
Frankfurt is the place where the latest developments in the automotive aftermarket are presented once every two years – and it has been for nearly 50 years. In fact, many leading companies coordinate their innovation cycles with Automechanika Frankfurt. For anyone who wants to stay abreast of what the future holds for parts, accessories and workshop services, a trip to Frankfurt is a must. Many new products and innovations are presented for the first time at Automechanika Frankfurt.
How do you distinguish between new developments and innovations?
It is clear that all products and solutions that are being shown for the first time in a particular form are considered to be new developments. These might be new designs or products with a different ‘feel’ or even an optimised use of materials. However, this says nothing about their relevance for the automotive aftermarket. In order to shine the spotlight on the new developments that can really drive progress in the automotive industry, in 1996 we launched the Automechanika Innovation Awards and the corresponding special showcase. In concrete terms, our panel of experts evaluates submissions on the basis of criteria that include functionality, relevance to the aftermarket, excellence of the solution and the degree of innovation. The award is now internationally recognised, and it serves as an excellent marketing tool for its winners.
Automechanika has also been very successful outside of Germany. Can the Innovation Awards concept also be exported?
Innovation plays a greater role in driving the automotive business than it does in any other industry, and to date it has been Automechanika Frankfurt that serves as the industry’s primary innovation showcase. Naturally, however, the phenomenon is equally true for markets outside of Germany. A good example is offered by Automechanika in Johannesburg, where the Innovation Awards have been established as sought-after prizes since 2009. I’m sure that we can look forward to technological developments from outside Germany in future, just as I am certain that these innovations will find their way to
one of our Automechanika fairs all over the globe.