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A strong show: the international automotive aftermarket is back in Frankfurt

17 Sep 2022

The turning point has been reached: Automechanika Frankfurt’s new formats and extensive programme were very well received by international automotive professionals. 78.000 visitors from 175 countries came to the industry’s leading platform in Frankfurt to experience products and services from workshops, industry and retail live and in person. In fact, these past five days are the fullest the exhibition grounds have been since the restart in Frankfurt.

2,804 companies from 70 countries exhibited their products and services across 19 hall levels and in the outdoor exhibition area. Detlef Braun, Member of the Executive Board of Messe Frankfurt: “Things are clearly heading in the right direction. Together with our customers and our international partners, we are optimistic about the future: nothing can take the place of trade fairs. The strong international component amongst exhibitors from 70 countries and visitors from 175 countries alike makes it clear that the international automotive aftermarket is back in Frankfurt. Participants also took full advantage of the new networking opportunities to finally meet with one another in person and make new business contacts.”

The high level of visitor satisfaction of 92% clearly demonstrates that the areas of focus at this year’s Automechanika are exactly what the industry was looking for: increasing digitalisation, remanufacturing, alternative drive systems and electromobility in particular present automotive workshops and retailers with major challenges. For the first time, there were more than 350 events on offer, including presentations given by new market participants and free workshops for automotive professionals.

CEOs from leading key players put on a strong showing at the CEO Breakfast event sponsored by ZF Aftermarket on the first day of the trade fair. In a ‘fireside chat’ format, Formula One professionals Mika Häkkinen and Mark Gallagher supplied fascinating insights for an industry that is changing faster than ever. Detlef Braun explained: “In these turbulent times, the industry needs fresh insights and new ideas. After all, the goal is to ensure that it will be possible for everyone to enjoy the safest, most sustainable, climate-friendly mobility in future.”

Peter Wagner, Managing Director, Continental Aftermarket & Services:
“Automechanika made two things very clear. Firstly, even in an increasingly digital world, everything comes down to people. Speaking to someone in person, visiting a stand, making your way through the exhibition halls, even shaking hands – none of these things can be replaced. Secondly, the industry's transformation has continued to accelerate. Fields like digital services for workshops and alternative drive systems, for instance, are more important than ever. As a forum for promising fields like these, Automechanika will be even more important in future, because expertise is absolutely essential if workshops and dealers are to continue playing a major role.”

Visitors showed a great deal of interest in the new ‘Innovation4Mobility’ showcase, which covered such topics as battery technology, alternative drive systems, hydrogen, solar technology, e-commerce and connected vehicles.

It was striking just how many young visitors came to the trade fair to find out more about the training and career opportunities on offer in the automotive aftermarket. This year marked the first time that the recently established Talents4AA association, a non-profit organisation that aims to attract talented specialists and newcomers to the automotive aftermarket, has appeared at Automechanika Frankfurt. And their appearance was a big success: the association significantly increased its membership rolls during the five-day event. Stéphane Freitas, General Secretary of Talents4AA: “The trade fair was an excellent opportunity for networking, and the association received excellent feedback from its industry members. ADI, Bilstein Group, Continental, Misfat Group, NRF and SKF are some of the companies that officially joined the Talents4AA initiative during Automechanika Frankfurt. I am certain that we will be welcoming many more new members after the trade fair is over.”

German company GelKoh GmbH, whose new recovery system for damaged e-cars won both an Automechanika Innovation Award and the Green Award, participated in the trade fair for the first time this year. As Markus Kohten, Technical Director of GelKoh GmbH, put it: “The trade fair went really well for us. We were able to meet a lot of our customers here, including major corporations like insurers, car dealers, recovery companies, even people from the fire brigade – 90% of our target groups, in other words. We are very particular about which trade fairs we take part in, and we are already considering participating in the next Automechanika.”

Tiemo Sehon, Managing Director, Innovative Lackieranlagen GmbH:
“In partnership with Premiotherm, we presented one of our systems at Automechanika. This system makes it possible to achieve carbon neutrality in painting and bodywork centres with painting systems – systems that often use a great deal of energy. In light of the current energy supply situation, this is an important issue for all workshops. The trade fair has been a complete success for us: we met visitors from every country imaginable, and thanks to these new contacts we can move full speed ahead with our international expansion.”

What other exhibitors had to say

Jens Schüler, CEO Automotive Aftermarket at Schaeffler AG:
“We believe that Automechanika’s restart has been a complete success. Numerous elements worked very well together this year: not only was the new ‘CEO Breakfast’ format a hit, but there were lots of good events and considerably more visitors in the exhibition halls than we had expected. We were also happily surprised by the internationality and quality of the visitors. Many visitors took advantage of the opportunity to get a feeling for the challenges that lie ahead for the aftermarket.”

Philippe Colpron, Head of ZF Aftermarket, Executive Vice President ZF Friedrichshafen AG:
“The spirit of our industry has been very positive; we sensed that the Aftermarket has grown closer together. We all understand that we have big tasks ahead of us and we are collectively open to talk and work with each other - perhaps more than ever before. Those personal talks with our peers and partners were a great highlight.”

David Mosch, Key Account Management, Professional Sales Automotive, Alfred Kärcher Vertriebs-GmbH:
“Automechanika is especially important to Kärcher both in Germany and internationally. Our new concept for this year’s trade fair, in which we appeared with two separate stands for the first time, allowed us to precisely tailor our approach to different target groups – and this is reflected by the quality of the leads we generated. There were also large numbers of international visitors, something that enabled us to make valuable new contacts for exports. We are especially pleased by the two awards that we won: we were chosen as the best brand for both ‘cleaning and care’ and ‘car wash technology’. We appreciate the confidence everyone has placed in us. The event has been a complete success for us. Following five intense and exciting days, we are already looking forward to the next Automechanika.”

Ferdinando Imhof, Chief Product Officer, LKQ Europe:
“Automechanika is one of the most important trade fairs for LKQ Europe, as it offers the perfect platform for sharing views with our partners. After dealing with all the restrictions put in place during the pandemic, I'm delighted that Automechanika 2022 has welcomed so many visitors and that it has been such a big success for LKQ Europe.”

Jeroen Beterams, Group Marketing Manager, NRF:
„In a way, Automechanika and NRF are very similar. We always try to be creative, innovative and think one step ahead. This year, for the first time, we had two stands. One in hall 3.0 and one outside with show cars and live training sessions. We launched four new product groups, which were attended by very special guests. In one week, our team of 40 colleagues met more than 500 customers from 80 countries worldwide. Thank you Automechanika for your support in making our presence at the show a great success."

Ulrich Bethscheider-Kieser, Head of Product and Brand Communication, ŠKODA AUTO Deutschland GmbH:
“We presented the battery electric ŠKODA ENYAQ iV at Automechanika. The vehicle attracted huge interest from visitors and many people were eager to take advantage of this opportunity to test drive the vehicle around the exhibition grounds. Automechanika was an excellent platform for us to present our electric vehicle and its practical assistance systems to people from the industry and let them try them out for themselves.”

Dr. Florian Forster, Country Manager Germany,
“The automotive aftermarket is an important category for and is likely to continue expanding further in the coming years. On our platform, we have a selection of auto parts and accessories from 40,000 industry suppliers. As a professional B2B sourcing platform, offers a suite of digital sourcing solutions throughout the entire value chain of global sourcing. We hope to spread that message through Automechanika to let German SMEs know that we are their trusted part global B2B sourcing.”

Jörn-Bo Hein, Managing Director, Jutec:
“We are amazed by the positive reception we’ve had at Automechanika. In fact, we’ve already signed up for the next Automechanika. Why is this? Automechanika brings together various sectors of the automotive aftermarket. This is the place to go for all the companies that make it possible for car manufacturers to build their vehicles in the first place. They are also the place to turn when an e-car has to be repaired or shipped, when its condition is unclear, or when the battery needs to be replaced. It is for just these events that our safety and security concepts are designed – such as our quarantine hangar for workshops and our fire blankets for car parks and charging stations.”

Alan Medcraft, Vice President, International Detailing Association (IDA):
“Thank you, Automechanika, for putting on a much-needed event. The International Detailing Association (IDA) came here to get exposure in Europe and give our European Chapter presidents an event to meet and collaborate. Automechanika Frankfurt over-delivered!

Automechanika Frankfurt is returning to its biennial rotation and will once again be held every two years. This means that the next trade fair for the international automotive aftermarket will be taking place from 10 to 14 September 2024 on the Frankfurt exhibition grounds.

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Dr. Ann-Katrin Klusak

Background information on Messe Frankfurt

The Messe Frankfurt Group is one of the world’s leading trade fair, congress and event organisers with their own exhibition grounds. With a workforce of 2,200 people at its headquarters in Frankfurt am Main and in 28 subsidiaries, it organises events around the world. As in the previous year, annual sales for 2021 were significantly lower owing to the COVID-19 pandemic: approximately €154 million compared with Group sales as high as €736 million in pre-pandemic 2019. We serve our customers’ business interests efficiently within the framework of our Fairs & Events, Locations and Services business fields. Sustainable business practices are a central pillar in our corporate strategy and strike a healthy balance between ecological and economic interests, social responsibility and diversity. Another of Messe Frankfurt’s strengths is its powerful and closely knit global sales network, which covers around 180 countries in all regions of the world. Our comprehensive range of services – both onsite and online – ensures that customers worldwide enjoy consistently high quality and flexibility when planning, organising and running their events. We are using our digital expertise to develop new business models. The wide range of services includes renting exhibition grounds, trade fair construction and marketing, personnel and food services.

With its headquarters in Frankfurt am Main, the company is owned by the City of Frankfurt (60 percent) and the State of Hesse (40 percent).

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