Raj Manek, the Executive Director and Board Member of Messe Frankfurt Asia Holding Ltd, speaks on the ACMA Automechanika New Delhi 2019 aftermarket trade fair which opened today, technology trends, the expansive range of exhibitors, expected business visitor footfalls and much more.
This is the fourth edition of the ACMA Automechanika New Delhi, this time with over 500 exhibitors. How has the aftermarket trade fair grown over the years and how does it compare with the event in APAC?
Automechanika is Messe Frankfurt’s flagship show. It has grown tremendously over the years in India and globally. The biennial event has grown by about 30-40 percent with every edition except for this year, largely because of the space constraints and the ongoing construction at Pragati Maidan.
We consulted with ACMA and we had the option of either staying at Central Delhi or go to Greater Noida. However, I must admit that ACMA had a great view on this. They had a very pragmatic approach on whether we stick to Pragati Maidan and offer convenience to our visitors or move to Greater Noida and focus on maximising our revenues from this edition. They avoided having a commercial view on this and decided in favour of Pragati Maidan. Despite this space constraint, we have over 500 exhibitors participating. Of that, about 50 percent or about 260 participants are international exhibitors representing 15 countries. We are completely sold out this year too.
ACMA Automechanika is an established show. I believe that the industry stakeholders know what it is, they know what kind of contacts and business they can generate in the event, and we look forward to having more business interactions this year too.
Who are the ideal audiences of the ACMA Automechanika in India and globally in general?
The ideal audiences of the ACMA Automechanika are the combination of all stakeholders involved in the automotive industry across the value chain. This includes component and aftermarket players (organised and unorganised), distributors, vehicle manufacturers, suppliers across the value chain, small enterprise owners and even potential investors.
In the other global editions of the Automechanika, we are recording a new breed of participants in our show. These include software companies, chip manufacturers, technology players and others. These are not your regular participants and visitors. This is a completely new breed, which is advanced and aggressive. They operate with completely different technological tools and have very different marketing aspects and engagement programs.
How many exhibitor categories are being featured this year?
We are going to have pretty much the same categories that we had in the previous edition such as parts and components, electronics, accessories, repair and maintenance with a few new additions mainly in car digital solutions. We have key players such as Bosch, Mansons, Minda and others participating in the event.
I see that the exhibitors who had participated in the previous edition of this event have re-booked their spaces. We wish we had more space available at our disposal, which could have helped us have more exhibitors, particularly under the head ‘Tyres and Batteries’.
Automechanika is branching out well in other international markets such as Dubai and Shanghai. We would like to pick up lots of ideas and leads from those chapters for India in the future. I believe the 2021 edition and all subsequent events will be bigger as we hope that the ongoing construction at Pragati Maidan would be over by then.
Given the ongoing era of technological disruptions, what do you think will be the highlights of this year's event?
Yes there are a lot of technical changes that the automotive industry is witnessing worldwide. Some markets are driving a big push in certain areas such as China has been pushing for electric vehicles. These dynamics are certainly going to change the automotive aftermarket globally. The fast-evolving technologies and demands will be highlighted in our shows and exhibitions also. I believe that all subsequent editions of the ACMA Automechanika will be seen in the light of these changes.
What kind of business visitor footfalls are you expecting this year vis-à-vis the previous edition?
The last edition of the ACMA Automechanika New Delhi (2017) saw over 15,000 visitors. I hope we achieve that and more this year. If this happens, I will be very happy, given we will be operating under the same constraints as the last time with about the same number of exhibitors.
At Messe Frankfurt, we always focus on quality rather than on quantity. There was a lot of satisfaction amongst the exhibitors with respect to the footfalls that we had in the last edition. So much so that if the participants are coming back to us for the subsequent edition, it clearly means that they did well last time.
BS VI norms kick in from April 2020 and the aftermarket, specifically the unorganised space, will be impacted with respect to BS VI-compliant vehicles. How will this event be positioned in future, say in 2021?
For India, I see that the incoming BS VI emission regulations will certainly impact the roadside garages in the unregulated aftermarket. However, I believe that the existing car parc that is currently plying on the Indian roads will continue to feed these individual businesses for next 10 years or so.
I also believe existing players / businesses will upgrade their respective facilities and equipment. The local garages will continue to exist with advanced equipment. These changes will seamlessly happen in the same breath. You will see that the Automechanika is already changing the flow of its events worldwide to meet the changing norms across countries.
ACMA Automechanika is highlighting the menace of fake parts and product piracy through ACMA’s Safer Drives and ‘Messe Frankfurt against Copying’ campaigns at the fair. Please elaborate.
For us, as organisers, it is very important to highlight product innovations. But alongside promoting new innovations comes the need to address product piracy — for safer roads and usage of genuine auto parts and ultimately safeguard our exhibitor's interest. We have always had a firm stand against the usage of fake parts in the aftermarket and will continue to have those campaigns as they are very important for not only Messe Frankfurt and ACMA, but for industry growth and development.
Messe Frankfurt India is to host an Industry 4.0-focused seminar, conceptualised with Siemens, as an enabler for the Indian component industry. Can you reveal something about that?
Technology investment and digitisation of manufacturing operations will be crucial differentiators in making companies globally competitive and cater to the emerging needs of next generation automobiles. The seminar focused on opportunities for auto component sector in the context of the Industry 4.0 is a strategic addition that can help create a digital roadmap. It is crucial that both auto component and aftermarket industries invest in technologies and upgrade themselves as strategic OEM suppliers.