The differences between Autopromotec in Bologna, Italy, and the trade shows in Las Vegas during Automotive Aftermarket Industry Week are both subtle and dramatic. Autopromotec, which is known as a trade “fair,” covers nearly 1.7 million square feet at the Bologna Trade Fair Center. That makes it physically larger than the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show and Automotive Aftermarket Products Expo combined. Yet it has fewer exhibitors.
“The buildings at Autopromotec are much more spread out, which gives the impression that there are fewer people at the fair,” said Freda Pratt-Boyer, president of the Tire Industry Association, which hosts the Global Tire Expo at the SEMA Show. “But on the other hand, it gives the exhibitors plenty of room and helps to promote the image of the vendor.”
All the shows are global in nature, and cater to industry buyers. While Autopromotec skews to Italian companies, a record 663 of the 1,587 exhibitors represented countries outside Italy at this year’s trade fair. The total number of exhibitors was up 12% compared to 2013 (Autopromotec is held every two years).
According to Emanuele Vicentini, brand manager for Autopromotec, the event could be even larger.
“We are interested in growing more, but smartly,” he said. “The goal is not doubling the size of the show. The goal is to increase by 5% every (fair), maybe maintaining the same amount of exhibitors but keeping attention on the quality.”
Of the 47 countries represented by exhibitors at Autopromotec this year, China had the second-most number of booths. The U.S., with help from the Italian Trade Commission, was sixth or seventh, says Vicentini. “China overtook Germany for the first time. In the tire sector, China has taken more of a leading role.”
Despite intermittent rain over the course of the five-day event, attendance increased 1.4% to 103,989 visitors. The number of international attendees was up 9% versus Autopromotec 2013.
Attendance at the 20 AutopromotecEdu 2015 seminars topped 2,300 people. There were an additional 33 events, meetings and workshops organized by associations, institutions and media partners.
As part of AutopromotecEdu, Luca Montagner, associate director of ICDP (International Car Distribution Programme) Italy, forecast how the behavior of European customers buying online will change in the next five years.
- Visits to Internet websites for the purpose of booking service appointments will increase significantly.
- The sales of tires online will increase (currently, 20% of motorists buy tires on the Internet, according to Montagner).
- The sale of spare parts online also will increase (an estimated 30% of motorists buy parts on the Internet).
Online sales “could have a dramatic effect, to the detriment in particular of the independent market,” he said.
Trade fair wars
Europe hosts at least one automotive aftermarket trade show every year. The next Autopromotec will not be held until May 24-28, 2017.
The Reifen International Trade Fair, also a biennial event, will be held in Essen, Germany, in 2016.
In 2018, there will be two major trade fairs in Europe.
Reifen, organized by Messe Essen GmbH, will be held May 29-June 1. The first Tire Cologne, organized by Koelnmesse GmbH, will be held in Cologne, Germany, over the same four days.
In preparation for the Tire Cologne, the existing city center is receiving a 600 million euro upgrade (approximately $667 million). The expansion will begin next year and be completed by 2030. ■
Europe versus the U.S.: The tire needs differ, says Atturo’s Mathis
There is a difference in the tires sold in Europe versus the United States, according to Michael Mathis, co-owner and vice president of international marketing for Atturo Tire Corp.
“Europeans care much more about matching OE specifications in load and speed rating than nearly any other market in the world, including the U.S.,” he said. “In a lot of countries in Europe, buyers, by regulation, have to match their OE speed rating.
“In the U.S., the buyer doesn’t care as much about V, W or Y ratings. They care more about the price.”
Atturo’s Y-rated AZ850 performance SUV tire was developed more with the European market in mind. Six of its 29 sizes are run-flat sizes.
The predominantly V-rated AZ800 is designed for SUV, crossover and sport trucks in the U.S. Both tires are manufactured in Taiwan by Federal Corp.