Automechanika shows that business is back

A good showing by international industry and Indian exhibitors at the Automechanika Frankfurt trade fair showed that the buzz is back and the outlook is good for the future.

Autocar Pro News DeskBy Autocar Pro News Desk calendar 12 Oct 2010 Views icon4312 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp
“Trade visitors from 180 countries have come to visit the leading international trade fair for the automobile industry over the last six days. That is a real record. Never, in Messe Frankfurt’s entire history have there been visitors from so many different countries here in Frankfurt. We join the sector as a whole in counting this year’s Automechanika as a thorough-going success. In all we have seen a significant increase of five percent in the number of visitors from outside Germany. And with it, Automechanika has once again demonstrated its position as the largest and most international trade-fair brand in the whole of the automotive industry,” said Detlef Braun, member of the board of management of Messe Frankfurt. A key theme of this year’s Automechanika was electro-mobility. As well as being about alternative propulsion technologies, this also specifically raised questions about the ways in which the aftermarket can prepare itself in the future for electrically driven vehicles. Beyond this, the focus was on technologies to reduce fuel consumption and on sustainable solutions for lowering emissions. Growth in Indian participation From India nearly 160 companies participated in the fair, representing 30 percent growth in terms of number of participants over the last edition. Some of the companies included Automotive Valves, Deepak Power Storage Enterprises, Devendra Exports, Fenner India, Fleet Gaskets, Highway Industries, Hindustan Composites Ltd, India Pistons, G S Auto International, Jamna Auto Industries, Manatec, National Engineering, Rane Group, Roots Industries, Sankar Sealings, Shriram Pistons & Rings, Sigma, Stanley Products, Sundaram Brake Linings, Talbros Automotive, Usha International and Vikrant Auto Suspensions. These companies displayed several components, sub-assemblies and modules meant for vehicles of all categories. Besides, some of them showcased equipment meant for aftersales service and allied requirements of vehicles. Some of the Indian exhibitors said that a specific Indian pavilion drew much interest among business visitors from across the world, who have evinced interest in sourcing parts from India especially for the aftermarket. P D Leelaram, advisor (business development and TQM) Rane Group, said, “The Rane Group has been regularly participating in Automechanika, Frankfurt. The objective of our participation is two-fold – to explore new aftermarket customers and also to meet our existing customers to further strengthen our business relationship. Both these objectives have been met during this year’s Automechanika also.” Robert Bosch GmbH showcased several equipment including the new air-conditioning system service unit ACS 751, which was designed and developed in India for the world market. S Muralidharan, vice- president (automotive aftermarket), of Bosch Ltd said the unit satisfies every requirement of the highly demanding US standard SAE J-2788 for air-conditioning service equipment and has been certified accordingly. Therefore professional and environmental handling of the problematic refrigerant is ensured, he said. The sector’s major associations also reported positive developments in their field. From the point of view of Klaus Burger, resident of the Federal German Association of Manufacturers and Importers of Vehicle Servicing Equipment, Automechanika 2010 has exceeded the expectations of suppliers of garage equipment by a long way. “We were already beginning to see the first signs of a more buoyant market during the first half of the year. Automechanika has entirely confirmed this trend. The high demand for innovative workshop equipment and numerous specific orders from both inside and outside Germany show that people in the motor-vehicle sector are once again prepared to spend money. We are getting some very positive stimuli from Automechanika for promising developments for garage equipment, which will last well into next year,” Burger said. The director of the German Federation for Bodywork and Vehicle Technology (Zentralverband Karosserie- und Fahrzeugtechnik – ZKF) Dr. Klaus Weichtmann said the bodywork repair and paintwork found a new home in Hall 11. The quality of the discussions among trade professionals at the stands was better. Quite a few visitors ended up spending almost the whole day in this hall alone. The new concept is now established. According to Robert Rademacher, president of the Federation of the German Motor Vehicle Trade, after the financial and economic crisis with its negative impact on the motor-vehicle sector, “Automechanika has given us some positive indications of the recovery.” The mood in the motor vehicle trades has definitely improved. The quality of business deals is on the up, though there is room for improvement in terms of quantity. Vehicle servicing finds itself at the end of one era and the beginning of a new one, according to Dr Willi Diez, author of the Automechanika study from the Institute of Automotive Studies and Business. Automechanika has shown that there are more opportunities than risks in this change. That should encourage all players to approach the challenges of the market proactively, he said. “Automechanika 2010 has fulfilled our best expectations,” said Michael Söding, president Schaeffler Automotive Aftermarket, summarising their appearance at the trade fair. It is an ideal interface for communicating with the international focus groups – both with the wholesale and retail trade and with garages and repair shops. Automechanika 2010 has been a magnet for the public with quality visitors and contacts in an international environment. For Robert Bosch GmbH, which has so far been represented at every Automechanika, the event has developed into the world’s leading major trade fair. Robert Hanser, chairman of the Automotive Aftermarket Division at Robert Bosch GmbH, said the mood all round was positive. “We are able to reach our customers here directly, both those working in garages and repair shops as well as those in the wholesale and retail trade,” he said. Manfred Mattmann, Head of Marketing at Otto Christ AG Wash Systems, sees an improved mood in the business sector as opposed to that in 2008. “Our statistics with regard to contacts with professional customers shows an increase of four percent in the first three days. When it comes to agreements concerning investment goods, we have even managed to improve the figures by eight percent, compared with the trade fair in 2008. Because of the higher levels of contact, we are looking forward, hopefully, to some excellent post-fair business. We shall certainly be coming to Automechanika again in 2012.” After Germany, the most represented visitor nations from inside Europe were Italy, Great Britain and France. Outside of Europe, it was China, Russia and the USA who ranked highest among visitor nations. In particular, the high level of internationality amongst the visitors, which has risen to some 56 percent (50 percent in 2008 edition) is significant. There were also the 'Automechanika Innovation Awards' and the 'Green Directory'but a new highlight this year was the first Automechanika Rally, with over a hundred vintage, classic and special vehicles taking part. The rally was organised in conjunction with the Association of the Independent Parts Market (Verein Freier Ersatzteilemarkt e.V.). Dirk Zimmer, Head Volkswagen aftersales original parts and programmes said, “As in previous years, Volkswagen can be satisfied with the positive results we take from this year’s appearance at the trade fair. In a large number of discussions with national and international trading organisations, we were able to both talk about and examine in some detail all the issues surrounding our central theme ‘Service core process.’ More than that – once again this year, we were able to conduct some interesting discussions with the press, with our suppliers and from manufacturer to manufacturer.” The head of the aftermarket division of MAHLE said the company was able to report some very positive developments and some satisfactory figures in terms of visitor numbers by comparison with 2008. According to Albrecht Kruse, managing director SATA GmbH & Co. KG, compared to the previous event, the company has invested more in its stand at the trade fair. It demonstrated that companies are in a positive and optimistic mood. That is reflected in the situation in the international sector. There is not a trace of the crisis left, he said. All in all, Automechanika Frankfurt 2010 ended on a very optimistic note for the automotive industry, and a harbinger of good times to come.
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