As Detlef Braun, Member of the Executive Board of Messe Frankfurt, put it: “The 25th Automechanika Frankfurt was the biggest and most international event in its history. From 11 to 15 September 2018, more than 5,000 companies (2016: 4,843) presented their new products and solutions in an area of approx. 315,000 m². Braun: “The feedback from our customers has been unmistakable: Never before has the Automechanika Frankfurt fair been so focused on the future. All areas of the automotive aftermarket – industry, retail and workshops – have responded to megatrends that include connected cars, networked workshops and clean vehicles, offering an amazing range of innovations for the international group of professionals in attendance these past few days. In all 23 exhibition hall levels and in the outdoor exhibition area, things were really humming.”
The mood amongst the associations and exhibitors responsible for launching Automechanika in 1971 was extremely positive. Michael Söding, CEO Automotive Aftermarket at Schaeffler AG, summed it up nicely: “It has been the best week of the year.” Numerous suppliers showcased the future of vehicle repair, including augmented reality, and a number of them did so in the form of workshops, such as Bosch. Manfred Baden, President of the Automotive Aftermarket Division at Robert Bosch GmbH, considered the trade fair to have been a huge success: “Automechanika continues to be the most important trade fair for the aftermarket worldwide.”
Porsche AG, which was exhibiting at Automechanika for the first time, welcomed the direct feedback from trade fair visitors. Robert Heismann, Director of Aftersales Business Development: “We were able to present our innovations in the fields of electromobility and digitisation to a broad spectrum of the aftermarket here, and that is exactly what we were looking for.”
This year saw a total of 120 submissions for the world-renowned Automechanika Innovation Awards. Award-winners included new LED aftermarket solutions. Louise Eriksson, Global Head of Sales Marketing AM at OSRAM: “As the international flagship fair for the aftermarket, Automechanika offers us the perfect platform on which to present our product highlights and innovations to a wide audience. We are particularly proud of the Automechanika Innovation Award.”
Frank Beaujean, ASA President, was full of praise for the quality of visitors: “The vast majority of visitors came to Frankfurt well prepared, and our members enjoyed good professional talks with them. One thing that was particularly notable was the number of decision-makers here, something that applies to visitors from Germany, as well as from abroad.” At a special showcase held as part of the co-located REIFEN show in the new Hall 12, the association offered live presentations on professional tyre repairs. “This gave workshop owners and employees a chance to experience the advantages of digital processes live and in person.” According to a participant in the new customer programmes for dealers and workshop owners: “Visiting Automechanika gives us an opportunity to meet professionals with more detailed knowledge than is found amongst sales staff. For us, the biggest challenge lies in combining tyre and automotive services, and the technical changes these entail.” Olaf Mußhoff, Director of Automechanika Frankfurt, also highlighted the synergies between workshop services and tyres: “It’s quite simple: Tyres belong at Automechanika. For many workshops, bringing tyre and automotive services together in one place and dealing with the associated technical changes poses a huge challenge. That is why we will continue to invest in this area.”
Yet new technologies were at the forefront in more than just the fields of parts and workshops. Paint manufacturers such as Sherwin-Williams from the USA, which was making its first-ever appearance at an Automechanika trade fair worldwide, used virtual reality to present new products and a new training app.
As a counterpoint to the emphasis on the digital world, the new Classic Cars exhibition area enjoyed an impressive debut at the trade fair. 75 percent of exhibitors in this new area were very satisfied, including parts manufacturers, paint makers, start-ups and associations. “With the integration of a Classic Car area, Messe Frankfurt has found a fitting response to the huge interest in classic and collectible cars. With our stand at Automechanika, we were able to reach potential customers and suppliers from around the globe – just as we had hoped to,” said Jörn Schwieger, Marketing Director for Volkswagen Classic Parts.
The next Automechanika Frankfurt is scheduled to take place from 8 to 12 September 2020.