Exhibiting great potential
“Bigger, better and more exhibitors” is music to the ears when you’re hosting an exhibition … And, for the head honchos at Automechanika Johannesburg, the event was at full volume.
According to Roger Houghton, press officer and online communications manager for Automechanika Johannesburg, this year was an ideal time to stage the event once more. “It comes in the same year that the BRICS countries assembled in Durban for a major meeting and with the World Economic Forum on Africa starting today in Cape Town,” he said at the opening function for Automechanika Johannesburg. (The event, held at the Johannesburg Expo Centre, ran from May 8 to 11.)
“These important events, being held on our home soil, underline the growing importance of Africa in terms of the global economy,” Houghton explains. This is ideal news for Messe Frankfurt (the German-based international exhibition and trade fair organiser and owner of the Automechanika brand name) as it realises that the ongoing growth of the Johannesburg edition of this automotive aftermarket trade fair has to come from Africa.
Detlef Braun, executive board member of Messe Frankfurt, adds: “We are looking for incremental growth for this Johannesburg trade fair to come from African countries. This year the organisers have conducted extensive advertising programmes north of the South African border using radio and television, as well as direct mail.”
This clearly worked as Houghton points out: “We’re bigger and better than ever before. It is wonderful to be able to use these words when you’re staging your third event.” Over 600 exhibitors from 22 countries took part in the show, strutting their stuff in the 20 000 m2 plus exhibition area.
Braun adds that it was encouraging to see a 30 percent increase in the number of 2011 exhibitors from the inaugural 2009 show, with a further growth of 12 percent between 2011 and 2013.
“It is also the right time for Automechanika Johannesburg to stabilise its name as the major business-to-business platform for the automotive aftermarket on the African continent,” notes Braun. “Previously it was known as Automechanika South Africa, but we’ve now decided to use the name of the city where the show is held, instead of the country, as we do have more than one show in some countries, such as Russia.”
He adds that Africa’s car and motorcycle ownership has grown by 81 percent since 2006, presenting a host of opportunities for those businesses operating in the automotive aftermarket arena. “We believe exhibiting at Automechanika Johannesburg is ideal for all those entrepreneurs and established businesses wanting to benefit from the potential of a continent with a growing economy that is attracting extensive investment and infrastructural development.”
However, this year’s staging also looked promising for the commercial side of things as the mini conferences addressed some key areas. Most notably was the logistics conference, which focused on the African continent. Unfortunately the truck competence conference was cancelled, but it shows that the Automechanika management is looking at ways to keep the brand fresh by adding in areas of growing interest to the automotive aftermarket sector.
“We will continue observing and analysing the world’s markets to give international manufacturers and buyers the chance to make contact with national companies and business partners,” says Braun. “In particular we aim to offer small to medium-sized companies a launch pad into the emerging markets.”