Partinform Trifecta

Partinform Trifecta

By Austin Gambl

I have been reporting on Partinform since March 2004, and it has been quite an exhilarating ride, with many highs, and a few lows. Now, with many beers under the bridge, and many thousands of words emanating from a peripatetic pen, covering some 141 shows across the width and breadth of southern Africa, I look back with nostalgia at the history of Partinform, and give aBr’s readers a trifecta of the past three shows – in Pietermaritzburg on 23 May, in Klerksdorp on 12 June, and Mossel Bay on 17 July

It must also be noted that when the Partinform Components Manufacturers’ Association was conceived in 1986, some 33 years’ ago, I was part of that decision, when as the marketing manager of a component manufacturer, I voted, together with my colleagues in the trade, for the creation of a vehicle (ahem) to promote our brands and to educate the motor trade on the professional benefits of using guaranteed, branded quality parts. As a member of Partinform, which served as the name for these trade shows, I participated from 1986 to 1991, so I can say with some justification that Partinform and I go back some 33 years.

When I established aBr (Automotive Business Review) in 2008, my first journalistic assignment was, fortuitously, the Partinform show held at the Safari Conference Centre in Windhoek, on 22 July 2008. My coverage of this show took pride of place in the very first issue of aBr (September 2008), and it would be instructive to repeat some of the editorial. First up is Paul Williams, who served as chairman of the association from 1994 to 1998. Williams says that Partinform “was a creation of good comradeship and the mutual sharing of costs for trade evenings”, with the emphasis on the status quo. Williams adds that “originally our shows were held to promote to the same client base and the same end customer, but it evolved into an emphasis on educating the trade about a brand’s proof of performance versus product with no pedigree and of uncertain origin.”

When I interviewed Colin Murphy, the then chairman of Partinform, at the Windhoek show, he expanded on the concept, “Imported automotive product can now be found on every shelf of every parts reseller in South Africa, and its neighbouring states. This is a fact of life. The challenge that the automotive aftermarket repairer faces is that there is a massive variance in product quality on offer. Whatever the origin of doubtful parts, it is a conundrumfor the reputable manufacturers. Partinform is about educating the motor trade on the benefits of fitting quality branded product, and about the need to warn the trade about the obvious dangers of fitting unsuitable parts that may compromise vehicle roadworthiness, vehicle longevity, and road safety.”

The situation today, a decade on, still pertains, except that in many cases things have got worse, which puts even more pressure on the Partinform members to emphasise, and reemphasise, the message. Calling back the past, I think aBr’s readers would find one of the methods used in 2008, was the creation of a “false news” stand, manned by Vossie Verneuk and Petronella Price, representing a fictitious company, Krap Parts, where they expounded on their unique brand of parts wisdom, which certainly created a humorous environment, and got the message across. Some of the gems that emanated from their mouths included:

  • “Our product is obtained from various sources; such as containers washed up at Richards Bay, cannibalisedvehicles, parts falling off the back of a truck, and upmarket flea markets!”
  • If it lasts, it’s not krap enough for us”
  • We are traders so we do not waste our time on such trivial pursuits as research and development, quality systems, or technical support”
  • Cataloguing is a waste of paper, but we do believe in creative packaging”
  • We avoid unnecessary paperwork, such as VAT returns”
  • If it’s krap, we’ll sell it”
  • The tow truck industry, the scrap yards, and the undertaking industry, owe us a huge debt of gratitude”

Pride in Pietermaritzburg

On 23 May, it was off to the races, or more accurately to expose Partinform to the good folk in Pietermaritzburg, attending the Sunday Tribune Cars in the Park 2019, held at the Gold Circle Horse Training Centre, Ashburton. aBr gives our readers a pictorial overview of the event:

Click for Pietermaritzburg Gallery

Click for Mosselbay Gallery

Click for Klerksdorp Gallery

Click for

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