Automechanika continues to drive the automotive aftermarket trade fair shows as renewed visitor interest in exhibitions grows

The recent Automechanika Istanbul trade fair for the automotive aftermarket attracted 25% more visitors than the previous show, held in 2019, said Michael Johannes, Vice-President – Mobility and Logistics at Messe Frankfurt and Global Brand Manager for Automechanika, when addressing guests at the opening of Automechanika Johannesburg 2022.

“This growth in visitor interest shows there is a renewed appetite for one- on-one exhibitions after the forced cancellation of many of these Automechanika trade fairs due to the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic. We are also heartened by the particularly good response so far from both exhibitors and visitors for our premier event, Automechanika Frankfurt, which is scheduled for the Frankfurt showgrounds from 13-17 September.

“We have already signed up exhibitors from 66 countries compared to the 76 that exhibited at the 2018 Automechanika Frankfurt and there are still several months to go before our big show,” explained Johannes.

He stressed the fact that the radical changes taking place in the automotive industry as it moves towards electrification in several world markets means that a host of new talents in all aspects of the business will be needed due to the disruptions which have occurred during and post Covid.

“This is where South Africa needs to take a leadership role in Africa regarding training and upskilling workers, while business owners need assistance in forward planning in terms of the changes required to deal successfully with two distinct powertrains – electrified and internal combustion. This will be in terms of employee skills, the workshop equipment required and the layout of the work areas,” said Johannes. Simphiwe Hamilton, Acting Group CEO of the Gauteng Growth and Development Agency, who also addressed the guests at the opening of Automechanika Johannesburg, said that Gauteng was determined to become the hub for the local manufacture of electric vehicles and their components.

He added that there was consideration for establishing an inland port at Pyramid to improve automotive imports and exports between inland plants and the coast. Another project to improve competitiveness is the introduction of a rapid rail link planned between Ford’s plant in Silverton/Mamelodi and the Eastern Cape ports.

“We are also looking at developing several industrial hubs located in townships, similar to the Ford example, while we already have industrial parks feeding components into South Africa’s Special Economic Development Zones (SEDZ), so we are confident of fulfilling our objective of ensuring that Gauteng leads automotive industry development in South Africa,” he added.

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