Last week’s UK Garage and Bodyshop Event has received widespread praise from the aftermarket community, with 3,538 business owners visiting the NEC over two days.
Held from 8-9 June, the event brought visitors from garages and bodyshops together with exhibitors from automotive aftermarket suppliers, training providers, software businesses and more. The first big event for three years filled the gap between Automrchanika Birmingham events and was evidently needed, with such a strong turnout.
The overwhelming take-away from the first industry face-to-face event on this scale since 2019, was that the automotive aftermarket is on the brink of real change, and if garages and bodyshops are to thrive, not only survive, they will need to invest to be able to service and repair a digitalised, diversified and aging vehicle parc.
“The first UK Garage and Bodyshop Event has been a resounding success and has achieved its aim of providing a training platform for end users,” said Simon Albert, managing director of event organisers Messe Frankfurt UK. “Our exhibitors have told me how happy they were to meet serious garage and bodyshop owners, and also that they have come from all over the UK and Ireland.
“We now look ahead with an even greater sense of purpose to Automechanika Birmingham, which brings together the entire automotive industry with a dedicated section for garages and bodyshops, replicating the success of the UK Garage & Bodyshop event.”
Over 100 businesses exhibited at the event, showcasing the latest in service and repair products, diagnostics and garage equipment, offering technicians and garage owners the opportunity to learn, train, network and build their skills and know-how to futureproof their business.
Such was the success of the UK Garage and Bodyshop event, it will now become a regular fixture on the aftermarket event calendar, as part of Automechanika Birmingham next year, and a standalone exhibition in 2024. Organisers are also promising a stronger bodyshop lineup at next year’s NEC show, taking place on 6-8 June.
Great exhibitor lineup
The event began with Andy Hamilton of LKQ Euro Car Parts giving the opening discussion, followed by dedicated training sessions and demonstrations from leading exhibitors such as Alliance Automotive Group (AAG), Bosch, Carlac, Castrol, Liqui Moly, Repairify, Snap-On and ZF.
Andy Hamilton, Group Chief Executive Officer, LKQ Euro Car Parts, said: “The event was a great opportunity for garages and bodyshops to get face to face with suppliers and specialists that they would not normally get to meet with.”
“It has been a jam-packed two days of training, tools and technology. It’s been an extraordinary event, an important one for any garage owner to attend with so much on offer,” said Hayley Pells, Avia Autos, who both visited and delivered a seminar at the event.
Over the two days the training hubs provided more than 100 hours of seminars across its workshop, bodyshop, EV and Hybrid training areas, covering ADAS, sustainability and collision repair, reflecting demand for aftermarket businesses to upskill in a post-combustion era.