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Autopromotec international expansion


The first Autopromotec 2019 international expansion tour was recently completed in South America

Mauro Paternò

After the successful closing of the 2017 edition of Autopromotec, with a record-breaking 14% increase on the number of specialists and experts visiting from abroad, and official delegations from over 30 countries, the first international promotional tour, in view of the 2019 edition, took place in South America, an area with a strong growth potential and a widespread interest around the Italian automotive event. The road show took place between the end of September and the beginning of October 2017.

The choice for the road show fell on Colombia, Argentina and Chile, countries that have enjoyed very little relationships with the event in recent years, despite a number of operators were seen during the last event back in May, but that, at this stage, represent an opportunity to increase market relations.

Colombia, after reaching an acceptable level of social and political stability, has signed a free trade agreement with the European Union and is now on the receiving end of several investment programs. Currently, the circulating fleet is quite large but old, and undergoing a great renovation, and the country, with a population of over 46 million inhabitants, has ended up becoming a pole of industrial and economic aggregation especially after the institutional crisis currently plaguing Venezuela (marred by a strong migratory phenomena) and the economic decline of the Brazilian subcontinent. GDP growth, after a period of ups and downs, is expected to reach 2% in 2017.

Argentina, after a long “Peronist” phase with Kirchner's leadership has, with the election of Macri turned towards a more progressive form of market capitalism. The country is now hungry for imports, with a slowly declining inflation accompanied by a devaluation of the Peso. The numbers provided by GIPA Argentina portray a resounding sales development as  new car sales soar in a country of about 42 million inhabitants: from the little more than 100 thousand cars sold in 2002, the first year after the default, to an estimated 1 million cars sold in 2017, a staggering 1000% rise in 15 years.

Finally, Chile, which enjoys the most stable economical, social and political status in the area, and whose economy is based mainly on the exploitation of natural resources, is totally devoid of an automotive industry in terms of production, relying entirely on imports, considering a population of about 20 million with the highest per-capita GDP of the continent and softer import duties. Considering also the geographical proximity to the two previously mentioned states, Chile was considered a land of great potential as far as purchasing Italian goods.

The tour started in Bogotà, Colombia (in one of the world’s worst traffic scenario). The local business community welcomed the event and made no mystery of their interest in establishing new business relations.

Assisted by the Italian Chamber of Commerce for Colombia, contacts with numerous local players were established.

The meeting with ProColombia was interesting indeed, with rather proactive representatives. After illustrating how Colombian spare parts production is growing and mostly directed to Latin American markets, the agency seemed very interested in choosing a suitable trade show in Europe, and Autopromotec could be the event in question.

Andemos (Asociación Colombiana de Vehículos Automotores) made itself available to support Autopromotec through a widespread distribution of newsletters. The association represents for the most part dealers, some equipped with after sales services in the workshop (many of which with binding purchase agreements with the manufacturers).

Camara de la Industria Automotriz de la Andi is part of the national association of industries, which groups the largest companies in the country and operates through supply chains. The director displayed great interest in evaluating the participation of their associated companies at Autopromotec, and will try to coordinate their efforts with ProColombia.

Next up was a meeting with ACOLFA (Colombian Association of Spare parts Manufacturers).

Subsequently, in Chile, meetings were held with CAREP (Chilean Chamber of Spare Parts and Automotive Accessories) and CAVEM (National Chilean Automotive Chamber of Commerce): in a country, as mentioned above, almost devoid of any national production, strategies were considered to involve Chilean buyers in an effort to promote knowledge about the quality of the Italian industry.

Furthermore, as they also manage a sector-based magazine with national coverage, one or more advertisements could be published to promote Autopromotec 2019.

Finally, after the traditional meeting with the Italian Chamber in Argentina, specialized magazines and the local GIPA office, on the 5th of October an important seminar entitled “The future of the Aftermarket” was held at the conference hall of the Municipality of San Martin (about an hour from the centre of Buenos Aires), an important SME production pole in the spare parts sector, organized with the support of the Argentine Government Agency for Investments and the promotion of Exports.

The event certainly represented the "highest" moment of the tour in line with Autopromote’s ambitions to penetrate the San Martin’s area and take advantage of all the expansion potential offered by the numerous companies with a typical SME structure and an International outlook. The presence of AFAC (the largest Argentine Association of Spare Parts Manufacturers) is well worth a mention.

The goal of the travelling road show was to maximize promotional activities and relations as well as partnerships, updating the database in view of inviting a qualified audience of buyers to Autopromotec 2019. At the same time, the ambitious yet reachable dream for the event is to host an exhibition area co-financed by government agencies from Colombia and Argentina, meanwhile Chile (as well as Uruguay, Peru and Paraguay) will work exclusively on visiting professionals and buyers.

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