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Eric Bigourdan is the head of a French publishing house specializing in the automotive sector and, in particular, in tyre technologies with its magazine "Le Pneumatique" for professionals. He is about to launch in France a new trade show devoted to the tyre sector: Pneu Expo 2012, from 7 to 9 February 2012 in the Eurexpo exhibition centre in Lyons ( Eric Bigourdan, general manager of the event, told us about his vision for the exhibition and his strategy.


Gianluca Bruni

Eric Bigourdan, what are the aims of Pneu Expo?
Pneu Expo aims to bring the main networks, wholesalers and specialist operators in the tyre sector to Lyons for 3 days. They will be given a chance to see the new developments in products by manufacturers and tool makers as well as the trends in the sector. The hosts will certainly be tyres, accessories and associated equipment. Moreover, round tables and conferences will shine the spotlight on subjects that are key for the sector.


What would convince a company to exhibit?
Because it is the only trade exhibition in France entirely devoted to the world of tyres, Pneu Expo fills a gap, and France is the second largest European market for manufacturers. Exhibiting at Pneu Expo is an opportunity to exchange opinions on major subjects like retreading, recycling, assembly, tools, repairs, services, online sales, and so on. Primarily a trade fair, and above all, a commercial tool for understanding the challenges of labelling new tyres, controlling price increases, and identifying new sources of income. A place for meetings and exchanging ideas, the exhibition also serves to promote sales forces and customer loyalty. Pneu Expo is a meeting point for determining strategies, catalyzing energies and creating qualified guides.


Why did you choose Lyons?
Lyons is a rich area halfway between Spain and Italy and it was chosen in order to attract visitors and buyers from all over Europe and the Mediterranean basin. Exhibiting will provide a new opportunity for planning future sales in France and neighbouring countries.


What type of visitors do you expect?
Pneu Expo will unite not only sector and tyre maintenance professionals, but also fleet managers, buyers and manufacturers, and the manufacturers' marketing and research and development departments. Exhibitors and visitors will share a passion for tyres. And for building trust and loyalty nothing can take the place of interpersonal relationships.


Can you tell us about the products being exhibited?
Pneu Expo is an exhibition of all tyres. Exhibitors will present the new catalogue of products and services dedicated to consumers, hauliers, commercial and private fleets, agricultural vehicles, bulldozers, public works, aircraft, motorbikes, motorbike network professionals, and civil engineering. Pneu Expo will take place at a time when the tyre sector is undergoing important changes in labelling, safety and the environment. Labelling, which will be compulsory in Europe from November 2012, is a turning point because it implies a change in strategy by manufacturers. Three criteria (rolling resistance, wet braking, noise level) and a classification system will inform users about the performance of commercially available products. They will influence the solutions adopted for the new generation of tyres for cars, commercial vehicles and trucks. Safety is another subject that is very strongly felt in Europe. Starting next year, all new cars must have a system for monitoring tyre pressure. The provisions concern everyone, from car manufacturing companies to drivers, from tyre manufacturers to repairers. Road transport companies are also focussing on environmental issues. For tyre manufacturers, first and foremost the challenge is to reduce dependency on the petroleum needed to make synthetic rubber. Chemists are testing new compounds made from biomasses.


Will there be special events?
The 3 days of the exhibition will be peppered with demonstrations and activities. Tyre distribution is changing. New operators and new brands appear every year in Europe. Regulations evolve; in this context, Pneu Expo will provide new parameters in a programme of conferences and round tables. The exhibition will give visibility to tyre brands and to accessories manufacturers and it will involve all segments of the sector. We are committed to making Pneu Expo a major event for all professionals.



• Provisional conference and round table programme


1. The technological development of tyres in the future
2. The tyre, a high-tech product
3. Understanding the labelling challenge
4. Checking pressures from the dashboard
5. The place of wholesalers in tyre distribution
6. Independent or affiliated to a network: is there a choice?
7. Car care: the final diversification
8. Road transport prospects in France
9. The faces of the distribution chain in Europe
10. Online sales

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