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Automechanika Frankfurt: 136,000 visitors from over 170 countries encountered a record 4,820 exhibitors

Sep 17, 2016

Connected cars took centre stage at the world’s leading trade fair. Automechanika trade fair family continues to grow with a new event in Vietnam

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.

Here is more on what exhibitors had to say about the trade fair:

“Never before has Automechanika had such a wide range of interesting themes covering all product groups as it did in 2016. In the field of bodywork and paintwork, the large audience for the ‘Schadentalk’ collision talk showed just how much is changing in the industry in the interplay between insurance companies, claim control and workshops. A platform like this is absolutely essential here. In addition, Automechanika has once again demonstrated that it is the biggest and most international industry event of its kind.” (Thomas Aukamm, new CEO of the Central Association of Bodywork and Motor Vehicle Engineers (ZKF))

“The first ‘Mechanic Games’, an enjoyable sporting challenge for workshop visitors with a colourful supporting programme, was a popular destination on the last two days of the trade fair. Hundreds of participants young and old competed as the event moved through ten stations, and twelve winners went home with 250 euros each, making their trade fair visits twice as rewarding.” (Thomas Fischer, Chairman of the Executive Board of VREI, Verein Freier Ersatzteilemarkt e.V (Independent Aftermarket Association))

“Countless participants in the international ‘Right to Repair Campaign’ from around the world took advantage of Automechanika as the perfect place for coming together and sharing opinions. As part of the global campaign, organisations and individuals from the independent automotive parts and service markets are fighting for a more equitable legal framework in the automotive aftermarket. This would be particularly advantageous for drivers’ freedom of choice regarding where they can have their cars serviced and repaired, and with what parts. The meeting’s participants felt that the increasing connectedness of cars is a particularly acute challenge at the current time. As a result, not only should there be a ‘Right to Repair’ for everyone in the automotive parts and service markets worldwide, but also a ‘Right to Connect’.” (Hartmut Röhl, Senior Chairman of the German Association of the Automotive Parts Trade (GVA))

“Our members are extremely satisfied with the trade fair. All of our companies welcomed top decision makers to their stands. Yet again, this year's Automechanika has reinforced its status as the world’s leading trade fair for the industry.” (Frank Beaujean, President of ASA (German Association of Manufacturers and Importers of Automotive Service Equipment))

“Following five days of Automechanika, there is no need for any complicated analysis to confirm what we already know: this trade fair was a resounding success for us. Our stand enjoyed a series of non-stop highlights: virtual discovery tours, exciting product and service innovations, a new record for the number of visitors and even a special anniversary, as Schaeffler celebrated 40 years in the automotive aftermarket. We are very pleased by the outstanding response we received, as well as by all of the congratulations on our 40-year anniversary that were extended in the course of our customer talks.” (Michael Söding, Chairman of the Executive Board, Schaeffler Automotive Aftermarket)

“The move from Hall 8 to Hall 9 was a big step for us, and it was a major success. Our stand attracted quite a large number of visitors, and we are really happy about the fact that the international component of Automechanika continues to grow. The trade fair also offers the scope required for innovative themes. Autonomous driving is a highlight for us and for the industry as a whole right now, and it will continue to be so in future.” (Uwe Neff, Authorised Company Officer for International Sales and Marketing, Hella Gutmann Solutions)

“The international make-up of the visitors and the quality of talks at Automechanika are unrivalled. The fact that the trade fair is not only able to cover the traditional aftermarket business, but also to spotlight the service world of the future with its ‘Tomorrow’s Service & Mobility’ special showcase, was greatly appreciated by our visitors. The workshop and retail sectors welcomed the fact that Continental is a reliable partner for the independent aftermarket. Digitalisation in service is certain to be playing an even bigger role two years from now, and I hope to see more concrete examples, such as in the field of remote diagnostics.” (Peter J. Wagner, Vice President IAM MD, Continental Aftermarket GmbH)

“The basic and advanced training area in the Galleria was once again an important part of Automechanika for us. We are pleased to be able to support this trade fair with our know-how, and value our long-standing cooperation with the event. We are simply at home at Automechanika.” (Siegbert Müller, Sales Director of Carbon GmbH and Managing Director of Miracle-Europe GmbH)

“Automechanika 2016 was a very successful event for us. Our focus was on maintaining our contacts with existing customers, as well as on linking up with new customers, but the workshops in the bodywork and paintwork areas organised by Messe Frankfurt were also on our programme. This year our trade fair presence concentrated on the digitalisation of processes in automotive companies and workshops. We are already looking forward to 2018, when we will be getting back together in Frankfurt yet again for our most important trade fair.” (Jens Nietzschmann, Deutsche Automobil Treuhand GmbH, Managing Director – Germany)

“The 360° workshop brings together the comprehensive diagnostic expertise of WOW! Würth Online World GmbH ad WABCOWÜRTH Workshop Services GmbH at Automechanika 2016. The entire spectrum of multi-brand diagnostics, including fault code-based technical data clouds, original system diagnostics, exhaust emissions tests and air conditioning service, were presented for car and commercial vehicle workshops. In addition to this core business area, we also offer pioneering new products and innovations: clever fleet management and telematics solutions, vehicle-specific connectivity portals, as well as an online platform that allows all aftermarket processes to be optimised for original parts dealers. As expected, we were able to welcome both target groups – car and commercial vehicle workshops – to our stand, and they were very impressed by our wide range of products and services, as well as by our many years of expertise. As a result, we are very pleased with the decision to place us in Hall 9.” (Frank Bartsch, Spokesperson for WOW! and WABCOWÜRTH)

“Automechanika is more than just a trade fair for us. It is the international meeting place of the industry, and offers us the opportunity to meet with our customers from around the world and show them our latest products in a professional setting, as well as to network with them and other partners from the automotive aftermarket. Furthermore, Automechanika also offers us a concise yet comprehensive overview of everything that is happening in these essential sectors.” (Andreas Große-Coosmann, Marketing Director Northern Europe, Federal-Mogul Aftermarket GmbH)

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Background information on Messe Frankfurt

Messe Frankfurt is one of the world’s leading trade fair organisers, generating around €648 million in sales and employing 2,244 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 2015, Messe Frankfurt organised a total of 133 trade fairs, 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

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