The 24th Autopromotec Show in Bologna, Italy, was held during the last week of May. The biennial international event devoted to automotive equipment and the aftermarket had 1,473 participating exhibitors, a record figure and an increase of 2% over the 2009 show.
The exhibition area was 150,000 square meters, including both indoor and outdoor exhibits. Thirty-seven percent of the exhibitors -- 547 in total -- came from outside Italy. This trend shows the markedly international character of Autopromotec, which has earned a reputation as an influential event in the automotive aftermarket worldwide.
The increase in foreign exhibitors over the years has been achieved by developing a series of relationships with local associations in a number of countries world-wide, and by collaboration with the Italian Agency for Foreign Trade. These partnerships have been of key importance in the international promotion and organization of groups of delegates at the trade fair.
Delegations of buyers from the United States, South Korea, Egypt, Japan, India, Iran, Lebanon, Morocco, Mexico, and Russia attended the show.
There were nearly 17,000 foreign visitors out of 101,620 total visitors at the the 2009 Autopromotec Show.This trend continued in 2011, although final figures are not yet available.
Autopromotec is owned by the Italian Tyre Retreaders Association (AIRP) and the Italian Garage Equipment Manufacturers Association (AICA).
AIRP was founded in 1963. It represents the tire retreading industry and promotes it as a safe product with a strong ecological and economic impact. AIRP is a member of BIPAVER (European Retread Manufacturers Association) and aims to work not only at a national level, but also on the European market and contribute to relative sector policies.
Each year on the EU (European Union) market, the replacing of vehicle tires generates millions of tires to be disposed, plus those on vehicles which are subsequently scrapped. It is estimated that retreading activities in Italy save, on average, 130 million liters of oil a year and an average of 40,000 tons of other strategic raw materials, such as natural and synthetic rubber, carbon black, textile fibers, steel and copper.
Retreading saves about 70% of the original tire materials and also avoids the release of 40,000 tons per annum of used tires into the environment. Retreaded tires can generate significant cost savings: Every year, the Italians who choose to buy retreaded tires save an average of 270 million euro per annum.
An important victory for the AIRP is the mandatory nature of the UN ECE 108 and 109 Regulations, which require homologation of all retreading factory plants. As of Sept. 13, 2006, it is no longer possible to market retreaded tires in the EU that are not approved to UN ECE 108 and 109 Standards (this refers to the European Council Decision 2006/443/EC).
The 108 (cars) and 109 (trucks) regulations enforce strict requirements and criteria for the manufacturing and control of retreaded tires, in order to guarantee the safety and reliability of all such products.
[PAGEBREAK]The other owner of Autopromotec, AICA, was founded on July 9, 1976, to represent industry professionals engaged in design, production and sales of plants, machinery and equipment for servicing, maintenance and repair of means of transportation.
This export-oriented sector has earned a worldwide leadership position thanks to its innovative products and the entrepreneurial abilities of many Italian companies, which, in some cases, have reached global status. The segment that manufactures machines for vehicle servicing is a niche and is a solid example of creativity, innovation, dynamism and production capacity, and serves as a prime example of the most advanced technology in the auto repair industry.
According to association estimates, in 2009 the sector exported products totaling 2.07 billion euros, and the share designated for export represented 69% of the total turnover.
The main foreign markets for Italian garage equipment are located in Europe, which absorbed 67% of exports, followed by America’s markets with 13%, Asia with 15% and the other markets with 5% (the figures are rounded).
In addition to foreign markets, the Italian market continued to have a prominent role, in 2009 alone having more than 932 million euros in sales. The sector managed to obtain in 2009 a total turnover (sales on the domestic and export market) of 3 billion euros. This turnover was achieved by 304 companies with a total number of employees of 15,996.
(The number of companies, this year or next, should experience a slight drop in the total amount of producers due to a concentration in the sector resulting from acquisitions of brands and small companies by larger groups.)
The association acts as a guide and link for its almost 100 member companies. Although these companies account for a third of the total number of producers in this industry, they represent more than 80% of the total turnover (sales) and the total employees in the sector.
The mission of AICA is to voice the demands of members by reconciling the different characteristics existing within a highly diversified industry made up of both companies with specialized, small-scale capabilities and larger groups that have opened up sales and production branches in the countries of highest strategic interest.
[PAGEBREAK]To stay current with regulation and market specificities of the different production segments, the association divides its focus into eleven product groups:
* Diagnostic Tools,
* Tyre Service Equipment,
* Spray Painting Booths,
* High Pressure Water Cleaning Equipment,
* Suction Systems,
* Washing Plants,
* Machine Tools,
* Vehicle Lifts and
* Tyre Mounting and Demounting Machinery.
Another association in attendance at Autopromotec was Federpneus, the National Association of Tyre Specialists, which was founded in 1970. The Association represents this category at a national and international level before ministries, authorities, public and private institutions, associations, tire manufacturers, car equipment manufacturers, professional operators and the media.
Over recent years, it has increased its institutional activities abroad, establishing important synergies with sister associations with the scope of providing greater levels of protection for the interests of this sector, also at a European Union level, and contributing to the harmonization of EU country policies and legislations.
There are about 1,100 specialized tire retailer members of Federpneus. Specialized distribution of tires accounts for roughly 76% of total sales.
Looking at recent trends in the Italian car industry over the last decade, it is clear that several changes are emerging. For instance, the demand for high-end products with W-, Y- and Z-speed ratings has increased considerably, reaching a market share of 12.8%, while the S- and T-ratings account for a share of 46.2%.
The winter tire has also made its mark in Italy, with a most significant increase in market share, standing at more than 15% percent, according to 2009 figures.
According to Federpneus, new tire sales in Italy for 4x4 and SUV vehicles totaled 21.2 million units; light vehicle tire sales totaled 1.54 million units and truck and bus tires totaled 1.18 million units in 2009, the latest year for released statistics.