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2008 Reifen show report: record exhibitors and visitors

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A record number of exhibitors (576) and visitors (17,600) were part of the bi-yearly 25th Reifen International Tyre Fair, held recently at Messe Essen in Essen, Germany.

Exhibitors from 40 countries displayed products and services related to tires, wheels and chassis technology to visitors from more than 80 countries. Nearly 58% of the visitors originated from abroad, compared to 45% in 2006.

Representatives from the tire trade and tire service sector accounted for 34.4% and 26.8% of the visitors, respectively. Approximately 51% of the visitors were amongst the top decision-makers in their companies compared to 44.7% in 2006.

Nearly all the exhibitors (97.5%) said they had reached their most important target groups at Reifen 2008.

EU directives will have consequences

Francesco Gori, president of the European Tyre & Rubber Manufacturers' Association and CEO of Pirelli Tyre SpA, said more stringent European Union (EU) directives targeting 1) grip in wet conditions, 2) "material authorization" and 3) driving noises will hurt European tire manufacturers competitively, especially against Asia.

In addition, rising raw material prices are putting cost pressure on not only the tire manufacturers but the industry as a whole. Overall, however, visitors from the tire sector are optimistic about the future, based on a post-show survey. And 20.2% of them are expecting a strong, upward tendency in the economic development of their respective sectors.

Awards for innovation

The tire fair honored a number of companies with Reifen 2008 Innovation Awards.

* In the Technology/Products category, Ventech GmbH won with its automatic tyre pressure checking system, Pneuscan ATM.

* In the Service/Marketing Ideas category, ProContour GmbH received the mark of distinction for its tread depth measuring system for moving traffic.

* In the Concepts/Processes category, Progressiv Reifen Media AG won for its utilization of Web service in the Tyre-Pro computer program.

Exhibitor testimonials

Visitors and exhibitors gave Reifen 2008 high marks for value. The visitor satisfaction level was especially high: 93.2%.

"Our international business would not be where it is now if this fair had not existed," says Keith Jarman, president of AME International. "In spite of the worldwide economic difficulties, the tire industry is doing fine from a global perspective. Because of the dollar exchange rate, it is absolutely sensible to be here."

"Reifen 2008 has surpassed our expectations in all areas: with regard to the numbers of visitors, the orders concluded and the qualitative interest in post-fair business," says Martin Selbach, commercial director for the HPA branch of ASE Corghi S.p.A. "Here at the fair, the business with run-flat machines has taken off since the certified machines for the assembly and disassembly of these tires were announced here. Our visitors were particularly interested in these machines."

"Reifen has gone very well for us, just like every time," says Jean-Claude de Thibault de Boesinghe, sales and marketing manager for EMEA of Bandag AG. "We always concentrate all our activities on this fair and meet our dealers from Europe, the Middle East and Africa here."

"We came to Essen with the intentions of intensifying customer contacts and looking for discussions with new customers from Eastern Europe and overseas," says Jobst Schwarz, trade sales manager for Continental AG. "We have not only attained this objective, but have also exceeded it in part."

"At Reifen 2008, we have presented our whole corporate group on one multi-brand booth for the first time. The concept came off very well," says Martina Richerzhagen, marketing manager for Goodyear GmbH. "The fair offers outstanding possibilities of maintaining contacts, and we have held many good discussions.

"This year, we have shown a completely equipped car repair shop on the outdoor site in cooperation with Rema Tip Top," she says. "That has gone down very well with the visitors. They were able to see and experience the repair shop and the tire service live on the spot."

"For years, Reifen has been the absolute must for us and the international sectoral meeting place in the world," says Dietmar Olbrich, sales and marketing adviser of Hankook Reifen Deutschland GmbH. "In Essen, we were able to present, for the first time, the all-weather tire with an ecological label, which was outstandingly received in the expert world. The business with summer tyres has gone well. As a result of this trade fair, we are expecting stimuli for the autumn and winter business."

Reifen 2010 will take place at Messe Essen June 1-4, 2010. For more information on Reifen 2008, visit www.reifen-messe.de.

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