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All Aboard the Magic Roundabout of Tire Show Europe!

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All Aboard the Magic Roundabout of Tire Show Europe!

With this year’s Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show taking place in Vegas this month, my thoughts have recently drifted to what I can only describe as the changing face of tire shows in Europe.

In my opinion, only two tire shows around the world really stand out — one of course is SEMA while the other is the Reifen Show in Germany, the only other event to rival SEMA in terms of size and popularity. Having said that, there is no doubt that in the past few years several shows in Shanghai, China, are gaining considerable momentum every year.

The Reifen Show is staged every other year and over the past decade or so has deservedly carved out a reputation of becoming the most international of all tire-related exhibitions around the world. This is because it regularly attracts the largest variation of visitors on a global basis over its four day duration.

I have been attending the Reifen Show for the past 10 shows and have noticed how the attendance figures have not only consistently risen but also expanded in terms of visitors’ nationalities and in particular companies from smaller and lesser-known countries in the tire market either exhibiting or visiting. At the same time there has been a very significant increase in the amount of Chinese tire manufacturers and wholesalers taking an increasingly keen interest in the event.

So on the face of it, with something like six large shows firmly established including Tire Technology (Germany), Automechanika (various European countries), Geneva Motor Show (Switzerland), Commercial Vehicle Show (UK) and Autopromotec (Italy), everything is healthy and promising when it comes to the European tire show scene.

Well actually, it’s not! As for the past 12 months there has been a lot of internal disharmony and for the want of a better choice of words — backstreet fighting — between show organizers.

For example, next year’s Reifen 2016 Show will be the very last event to be staged at the Messe Essen complex in Essen, Germany, because from 2018 the event will switch venues to the equally extensive Koln Messe in nearby Koln, Germany — at present the home of the highly successful Tire Technology Expo. Therefore, rather predictably the Tire Technology Expo will be staged at Messe Essen in 2018.

Just why this intended “magic roundabout” of the two shows is taking place is a complete mystery to me and indeed most people I have spoken with within the European tire industry. The distance in Germany between Essen and Koln is minimal and it seems to me the changes are part of some great political game being played between the two rival groups of show organizers which serves no purpose and just generates confusion and disruption to the European tire show circuit.

At the same time in the UK. which is generally considered to be part of Europe (although some people would disagree with that statement), the Brityrex biannual show has had a very unpredictable past and has now been disbanded. However, in its place comes the all-new Tyrexpo UK Show which will commence in 2017 in Birmingham.

Tyrexpo UK will be staged by Singapore-based Singex Exhibitions and will join a series of already established Tyrexpo shows in Singapore, South Africa and India as part of the company’s future expansion plans. It is also interesting to note that recently the organizers of the Automechanika shows (Messe Frankfurt Exhibition GmbH) has recently announced that in partnership with Forest Exhibitions (UK) it will be staging the very first Automechanika Birmingham show in early June 2016 and just weeks after the Reifen 2016 show. This means there will be two major tire and automotive events taking place in Europe within a period of just one month, which in my opinion can only be harmful for both shows.

Looking at this whole situation it seems to me that the business of tire shows in Europe is becoming extremely overcrowded and in the long run will only cause problems attracting both exhibitors and visitors as there is only so many exhibitions that businesses can indeed afford or spare the time to support.

Certainly the immediate future looks interesting for the European tire industry and only time will tell how it will work out.   ■

John Stone has been working within the global tire industry for the last 23 years. In 2004 he launched his own consulting company, Sapphire Media Services, which caters to business media clients around the globe. Stone also writes for tire and automotive-related publications in Europe, South Africa and Asia.

To see more European Notebook columns, see:

Europe is definitely under pressure

A breakdown in 'fast-fit' efficiency

Tire training: big business in Europe

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