At the recent Automechanika Birmingham trade show, Auto Repair Focus caught up with Simon Albert, Managing Director of organisers Messe Frankfurt UK, to find out how it felt to be back at the Birmingham NEC, what the show means for the UK aftermarket, and plans for the future.
You can watch the full interview in our exclusive video below:
Simon Albert, Managing Director, Messe Frankfurt UK.
It is amazing to be back here. It has been four years. It has been emotional for a lot of people. I think it has been so long since this event’s been held, but 20,000 professionals have all got to come over the last three days. And, yeah, it has been amazing. I mean, I have seen a lot of people I have not seen in those years and I know everyone here themselves feels the same.
The exhibitors we’ve talked to have been saying how amazing it is to be back to face-to-face shows. So yeah, great feeling. As organisers, we are happy if the visitors and the exhibitors are happy, and the feedback we have had the last three days has just been incredible. Some of the comments we have had, the exhibitors have been really happy with the quality and the quantity of the visitors who have come. So, they have seen real decision makers across the breadth of the industry and the visitors have felt there has been a really strong exhibitor line up as well.
It is the biggest line-up of exhibitors we have had since 2017, so really strong numbers and the quality has been really there as well. And then we had record visitor numbers here, so the biggest Automechanika Birmingham for visitors ever.
Automechanika Birmingham delight
A lot of the exhibitors have made a real effort as well in the work that they have done to make their stands exciting, which I think is fantastic. The show is firmly established now and we have our sister event, the UK Garage and Body Shop event which is purely for end users, garages and bodyshops, and that is a really strong event as well. And that will alternate in the even years with Automechanika Birmingham.
I think what we say to the visitors is if you give up one day of your time to come to this show, it pays back several times over. Because what you learn here to help you make your business relevant and to help you grow your business is just so crucial.
So, if you are serious about your business, whether that you are an employee of a company or whether it is your own business, I think what you can learn here today in terms of new innovations, new training, new techniques, I mean, we had 200 hours of free skills training for people. So, if you want to get ahead and so much is changing right now, I think you really need to be here.
And for the exhibitors on their side, they really want to start to engage more with their customers and not just their direct customers, their garages, their workshops as well, because they are really relevant, and they want to really get feedback from those customers as well.
We have had a real interest around EV this year. I think the show has really delivered useful and relevant content for them, but I think in future shows at the UK Garage and Body Shop event next year and the next Automechanika Birmingham in two years, that EV section will be much bigger. We are seeing real interest from it. At the end of the day, I think there is a lot of exhibitors who were not here as well this year who have shown interest in being back, so I think there will be more big brands here in future years as well. So, I think more and more content. And more relevant exhibitors for the audience.
Messe Frankfurt UK is always looking to grow the show in terms of interesting content. So, we are already getting feedback now about what some of those areas are, and the team over the next two years will have plenty of time to develop it.