21 Jun 2024
The voice of the independent garage sector

UK firms heading to Frankfurt in aftermarket trade drive

Automechanika Frankfurt director Olaf Musshoff (pictured) and his team talk to Aftermarket editor John Shepherd about the continuing importance and influence of UK aftermarket businesses on the global stage — including the upcoming biennial show taking place in Germany this year from September 10-14…

In terms of the UK specifically, how important is Automechanika for businesses based in the UK that are involved in the aftermarket sector?

Automechanika offers global opportunities worth more than $448.1 billion (£358bn) out of which $50bn is presented by the UK aftermarket sector. This global brand is the leading trade fair in this category, driving transformation for the industry. It is an important and significant part of the UK automotive industry, ranking fourth in Europe and ninth in the world in terms of the size.

British companies are continuing to demonstrate their capacity and resilience in the provision of servicing, maintenance and repairs. Automechanika Frankfurt is crucial platform to drive new business and establishing trading relationships for the aftermarket companies across Britain and the EU.

Is it possible to say approximately what the UK representation is expected to be this year in Frankfurt in terms of attendees and/or exhibitors?

We have over 130 UK companies committed and 100 registered in processing to the exhibition and we are thrilled that the event is supported by many prestigious partners — among them is SMMT. They bring to the Automechanika Frankfurt 2024 UK pavilion, located in hall 5.1, its largest overseas delegation offering great support to UK exporters.

The interest from the UK companies is overwhelming and the scale of new business solutions offered by the companies is proving the speed at which this industry is expanding. We also have a very good representation of well-known and new companies.

Has Brexit presented any particular problems for UK companies in terms of trade and cooperation with European partners, that you are aware of?

It brings both challenges and opportunities. It is without a doubt that the UK and EU are the key automotive trading partners. As mentioned earlier, Automechanika is a global platform for global companies to present services and industry and we are noticing huge growth in new companies wanting to present their products and solutions from all over the world.

The UK has innovative viable solutions and now a new EV factory approaching the breaking ground phase with battery production set to begin in 2026. But of course, the UK automotive sector has many priorities to solve after Brexit, such as UK/EU trade agreement and tariffs.

The automotive industry welcomed the extension approval from the European Council on the extension of current rules of origin for EVs until the end of 2026 and there has been many benefits to this for the UK industry.

But there is also the feeling amongst those that export/import to the UK, that Brexit is not serving businesses as initially suggested, as the UK Government must negotiate many directives separately, often being able to receive what they had benefited from already.

However, there are green shoots as some companies are reporting improvements in moving goods.

If garages and businesses have yet to consider taking part as exhibitors at Frankfurt, or visiting the show, what would you say to encourage them to register now?

There are over 100 international companies exhibiting in the innovation, transformation and sustainability product areas. The world is your oyster, so join us, if you want to drive the change.

Beyond the space rental, you will be able to participate in the fantastic fringe programme, with panel experts sharing their next big things in the market.

Automechanika has participants from 175 countries and is the world’s leading trade fair and the most international meeting place for presentations to take place, workshops and educational lectures.

If you want to expand your business globally, get in touch with other international experts, discover new products from the leading international key players of the entire automotive aftermarket, then you should not miss Automechanika Frankfurt!

In addition to the new products from over 4,000 exhibitors from around 80 countries, we offer an exciting and extensive programme — whether you want to discover new technologies, educate yourself or find new international business partners — we have created new platforms and events to enable all of this.

The first day starts with the CEO Breakfast, with football referee legend Dr Collina, another highlight is the Automechanika Innovation Awards — with a record number of over 150 applications. Exciting concepts and solutions for the mobility of tomorrow will be presented and discussed at the high-class expert forum Innovation4Mobility.

In the Sustainability Court, the central contact point for sustainability, you will meet key players from the industry to exchange ideas and network on sustainable solutions. The Future Mobility Park also offers exciting new technologies.

One highlight will be an electric van that has set a world record: powered solely by solar power, it has conquered the world’s highest volcano. But there is much more on offer for workshops.

You should definitely visit the workshop of the future as well as the Collision Talk and other presentations on the topics of paint and bodywork and diagnostics and repair at the Automechanika Academy.

Under the motto ‘passion meets business’, we are giving the business of classic cars a stage in hall 11.1. Old and young-timers will come together at the classic car rally. We also offer free practical workshops on accident damage management and detailing.

And for relaxed networking, we invite everyone to the daily happy hour with live music in the Agora and to Afterwork Friday in hall 11.

All information and tickets can be found on our website.

What is the frequency of shows held in the UK/Europe?

Around the globe, 130 associations and companies support the Automechanika brand. Automechanika has been building up this extensive network of partners and supporters with its international trade fairs since the mid-1990s.

After the very successful growth of the Automechanika brand around the world, we introduced the brand to the important UK market and Automechanika Birmingham is organised every alternate year to Automechanika Frankfurt.

The show team in the UK has also launched a very successful UK Garage & Bodyshop Event taking place on June 5-6 this year.