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New road-shows programmed in South America and South-East Asia following the missions in Turkey and the US

Mauro Paternò

Autopromotec International missions

The international promotion of Autopromotec 2017, the most specialized international exhibition dedicated to automotive equipment and the aftermarket to be held in Bologna May 24 to 28, 2017, is bearing excellent results in terms of interest. The event’s organizers, after many years of focusing on an increasingly international development strategy of the event, have been engaging in numerous missions abroad to globally promote the 2017 edition and attract new potential exhibitors and visitors.

2016 started with a promotion tour in South Korea, after which an agreement was reached with the leaders of "KintexAutomotive Week" for the joint promotion of the two trade fair events; after that, great attention was paid towards other strategic areas for the automotive aftermarket industry, or significant new market opportunities as a result of political changes and economic upturns. Within a project sponsored by the Ministry of Economic Development, in collaboration with ICE (Foreign Trade Institute), Autopromotec organizers performed, in May, a demonstrative road show presentation of the event in Argentina, a traditionally competitive country in the automotive sector, and the recent protagonist of a strong come back on the international import / export scene.

Furthermore, activities have greatly intensified since last September: first Germany, then a road-show in Turkey, set in cities such as Jebze, Bursa and Izmir. During the trip, several local industrial exporters and more than 100 companies active in the automotive sector were able to attend the presentation of Autopromotec’s key principles, its achievements in over fifty years of history, with a special focus on the latest editions (data for the Autopromotec 2015 edition: 1,587 exhibitors, up 4.8% compared to 2013, from 47 countries, with an exhibition area of 157.000mq and about 104,000 visitors), not to mention the potential such an event offers in terms of business.

The strategic plan behind these international promotion tours has already been defined for the coming months: after the promotion tour in the USA, with the traditional visit at the Automotive Weekend in Las Vegas (where ties were strengthened with TIA – Tire Industry Association), Autopromotec representatives will then fly to South America for a road show that will have as its main destinations Colombia, Chile, and Peru; the work will then continue in Southeast Asia to strengthen existing relationships with fair organizers, associations and buyers from countries such as Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia.

Emanuele Vicentini, Autopromotec Brand Manager, explains what has led to the development of this strategy with these words: "The current world economic scenario, with a lack of clear leading industrial areas such as a few years ago, moved Autopromotec to embark on an international promotional tour which includes both producing and buying countries. In this light, the upcoming edition, aims at increasing the presence of new manufacturing reality as well as ensuring the participation of buyers from new markets. The goal is to increase business opportunities for the exhibiting companies, expanding at the same time the international character of the event".

In this regard, a further boost to an already global 2017 edition will be guaranteed by the agreement signed by Autopromotec with Emirates, the national air carrier of the Arab Emirate of Dubai as the "official carrier" will favor the arrival, to Bologna, of buyers from some of the most promising markets.

Through these numerous international missions, promoted with the support of ICE and the Emilia-Romagna Region, Autopromotec is set to establish closer ties and agreements with industrial associations in a number of countries, thus facilitating the presence of an increasing number of delegates and members during the upcoming fair, with the expected participation of international delegations from over 30 countries. Moreover, exhibitors will also benefit from the B2Match business matching platform provided by the event organizers, thus facilitating a B2B meeting program during the days of the trade fair aimed at encouraging a profitable interaction between sellers and buyers throughout the fair.


Autopromotec’s visit at SEMA and AAPEX in Las Vegas                                

The pre-electoral environment (the days of the exhibition took place from November 1 to 5, a few days before the election that brought Trump to the White House) provided additional fireworks in Las Vegas during both AAPEX and SEMA, two automotive membership based events: the first is organized by ACA (Auto Care Association) and sees the involvement of some branches of MEMA (Motor and Equipment Manufacturer's Association); the second is promoted by the homonymous Specialty Equipment Manufacturer's Association and TIA (Tire Industry Association) as far as tires are concerned, and renamed Global Tire Expo a few years ago.

The two exhibitions are held separately, and it couldn’t be otherwise considering their combined size, and almost simultaneously, so as to concentrate visits and meetings in the fewest possible number of days (an American tradition) while responding to the needs of the international public flocking in the halls through infinite seminar sessions (a must for US expos: offering simultaneous seminars, presentations, networking cocktail aimed at promoting new business contacts: in this setting "breakfast talk", where management and marketing tips are dispensed, is the latest addition to enhance business relations during breakfast before moving towards the stands or meeting halls).

SEMA has the greatest impact: created in 1967 (probably one of the oldest events in the sector along with Autopromotec) is now ready to celebrate its fiftieth year in great style, with the exhibition space completely taken up by exhibitors, trade visitors, motorsports champions and starlets, including a series of temporary big tents, necessary to satisfy all the exhibitor’s requests.

Capable of hosting over 2,400 exhibitors (of which nearly 500 first timers, according to press office data) in one million two hundred thousand square feet of exhibition space with an estimated 140,000 visitors over the four days (over 70,000 buyers, according to the organizers; source, this event has, over the years, become the meeting place par excellence for the US market between manufacturers of components, equipment and accessories, eager to contact buyers and stakeholders from around the world. Official figures speak of buyers from 140 different countries, new product launches in excess of 3,000 items, more than 3,000 press accreditations and over 1,500 "unique vehicles", customized with special accessories, whether classic or prototypes, attracting both operators and onlookers with a passion for a market, the US market, which happens to be both strong and challenging, favored by more lenient laws than those found in Europe.

Most major car manufacturers were present, along with their official assistance networks or affiliated components suppliers, including Ford, GM, Honda, Toyota, FCA, BMW. Interestingly, the official press emphasized that in addition to the multinational companies just mentioned, "the presence of small operators and specialists in the trade fair is particularly noteworthy, among them professionals as well as car enthusiasts, able to understand the average motorist’s needs in relation to their vehicles”; specialists and car enthusiasts creating a complex puzzle of operators that represents the real added value of the event.

Looking inside the South Hall, controlled by TIA (Tire Industry Association), it is clear that alongside some of the biggest tire making names such as Pirelli and Continental, there is a strong presence of garage equipment manufacturers, with Italian companies increasingly under the spotlight; this shifts the focus from “eye-catching” products and confirms SEMA’s ability  to shed its skin moving from one hall to another. Additionally, in the "south hall",  a EU managed area came alive with the support of AICA (Italian Association of Automotive Equipment Manufacturers) and ANFIA, along with some of its associated companies, providing, at the same time, the perfect opportunity to illustrate the next Autopromotec fair and its record figures to US professionals. A number of important and innovative Italian products were on display in large crowded areas, launching the industry’s new creations on the US market.

Finally, SEMA organizers have further enhanced the area dedicated to bodyworks and everything connected to this sector including equipment in the North Hall.

Looking at the many initiatives, as always SEMA offers seminars, presentations, conferences, dedicated to all of the sector’s specialists and operators, often having to be stationed outside the crowded conference halls. Starting with new business strategies and technological developments, not to mention new online marketing techniques and future scenarios with connected cars under the magnifying lens, the curiosity and needs of everyone involved was certainly satisfied. The strong interest in the event was largely justified by the fact that, according to press releases, this industrial sector represents an economic turnover of over 38 billion dollars a year in the US alone.

Meanwhile AAPEX, held simultaneously at the Sands Expo Center, is slowly going from a European style event to something more “American”, with a looser selection of exhibitors, award ceremonies, celebrations and rock songs blasting away between booths. An event that brings together the multi-colored spare parts market with more than 45,000 accredited buyers, over 2200 exhibitors and official delegations from 26 countries. We should also add that, the lower floor hosted numerous collective areas from China and several Southeast Asian countries as well as Mexico, India, South Korea and Colombia just to name a few.

Finally, we can certainly say that both events provided a timely picture of the American market, which certainly looks rather healthy. And now, all that’s left for us to see is if it can be further improved thanks to the "internal development" policies promised by the newly elected President Trump.


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