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The Aftermarket’s future on display in Bologna


The great Bologna show can, once again, boast growing figures: exhibitors, exhibition space, halls and expected visitors. But the greatest novelty is in the rich portfolio of offers by all participating firms and the OFFICINA (Workshop) 4.0 project allowing visitors to touch the future first-hand.

Guido Gambassi

The Italian economic scenario, despite the current difficulties, is showing encouraging signs of recovery, and all indices boast a positive sign driven mainly by the automotive industry. However, even though the sector confirms itself as one of the strongest both in Italy as well as internationally, this is hardly enough to ensure success and serenity to all aftermarket operators: considering the number and scope of technological innovations across the board – faster and faster, among other things – it is unthinkable to stay in business without investing in, upgrading and innovating one’s activity. The 27th edition of Autopromotec, the most specialized international exhibition of automotive equipment and aftermarket products, is now close at hand, from May 24 to 28 in Bologna, and will serve as a mirror for the whole industry as never before.   This as far as the overall growth of the sector: as usual, also the 2017 Autopromotec show sold out quickly and the exhibition space had to be enlarged (especially for the tire sector); while the last few stands are being taken , the event’s  organizers expect a total of 1,800 exhibiting companies, 41% of which from abroad, with a 10 / 15% overall growth of exhibition space, and a waiting list of dozens of companies in some sectors. As far as visitors, figures are still rising, particularly in connection with foreign operators, which should be between 22 and 25 thousand.

Workshop 4.0: blazing new trails

Besides issues related to the growth of the sector, though, The 2017 edition of Autopromotec promises to best represent the Aftermarket sector also and especially as far as technological innovations are concerned. In fact, new technologies have always been a central theme at Autopromotec, but the next edition will represent an unprecedented leap forward; the great strides made by the industry driven by new technologies will be evident: new engines and alternative power units, cutting edge connectivity systems for increasingly connected and interactive vehicles, semi-automatic driving solutions, on-board diagnostics development and the consequences that all these elements will have on vehicle service will take the center stage. In fact, if on the one hand visitors will be attracted by a rich product offer able to represent new state-of-the-art technologies, on the other, guests will enjoy the opportunity to experience a real leap into the future thanks to the all important OFFICINA 4.0 project, object of hefty investments by the organizers: an interactive installation, located in Hall 30, that will allow guests to touch, first-hand, how the future is about to transform vehicle repair and maintenance operations, with multimedia interactive tools equipped with augmented reality devices, the Internet of Things, and digital diagnostics, all there to provide a 360° simulation of the car service world, totally digital, which is set to explore future systems and vehicle components, equipment and tools not to mention the pervasive interaction between vehicles and service centers. A project made possible by an International cooperation with some of the most advanced industrial concerns, which represents the underlying criterion of the whole event like never before: getting acquainted with the future of one’s sector, understanding how to direct investments, sharing ideas with other operators on how to revamp or develop one’s business, with a spotlight on the latest generations of mechatronic specialists who must be considered as real “digital natives”.

An increasingly dedicated offer                                          

After meeting the need for additional exhibition space with more exhibition halls, the organizers have, as always, created a layout based on the individual sectors, to facilitate the visit to the trade fair. The section dedicated to the tire industry includes halls 20, 15 (a first time for tires), hall 22 for the retreading sector, the outdoor area 42, and is further enriched with the addition of hall 31, while hall 19 will be dedicated exclusively to tire equipment. Diagnostic tools are to be found in hall 14, and part of hall 30 with lifts being housed in hall 29. On the other hand, products and tools dedicated to body-shops will be displayed in hall 26 and part of hall 30 with hall 25 taking care of filling stations and car wash. One of the key sectors of the event, such as spare parts, car components and service, will occupy halls 16, 18, 21 and part of hall 30. Tools, compressors and multifunction equipment can be found in hall 36, while many special initiatives and events will take place in the outdoor areas 44, 45 and 48. Nearby the service center and in hall 32 numerous and important events will likewise take place, all relating to Autopromotec EDU, a discussion and debate forum dealing with current topical matters for the sector, which attracts an increasing number of participants at every event. Special initiatives such as Industrial Vehicle Service and Filling Station Equipment will be back with a joint exhibition, turning the spotlights on heavy-duty vehicle service and products for car washing and garages. B2B activities will also play an important part in the program with the participation of over 120 buyers from 25 different countries.


Some useful information

Here are some useful tips to enjoy the event. Entrance tickets are free of charge and, as always, reserved for sector specialists and operators, to obtain one all you need to do is register as visitors in the specific section of the Autopromotec website: Once the required fields have been filled in and the confirmation sent, the visitor will receive his own entrance ticket through the e-mail address indicated on the admission request. Not just any ordinary entrance ticket though: in order to facilitate and speed up business contacts during the event, Autopromotec thought of turning the ticket into an e-business card. To activate the service simply give your consent on the registration form (click on the third "yes" box that appears on the page), and in so doing, Autopromotec exhibitors will find it sufficient to scan the visitor’s ticket QR code with their smartphone to acquire all the necessary data, and keep in touch with the guests even after the event comes to an end. Furthermore, in order to facilitate and enhance the visitor’s experience, the Autopromotec App makes its comeback in a renewed and even richer version in both contents and tools: by downloading this free application, available from April on iTunes and Google Play, visitors will always have the catalog of each exhibitor just a fingertip away, not to mention the map of the event, information and news from the organizers, the AutopromotecEdu calendar of events and meetings as well as practical information and services aimed at making their visit to Bologna a memorable one. For all the information on how to get to the fairgrounds, accommodation and special flight deals see


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