By John Stone:

The first bold move by Reifen to partner with the Automechanika series did not rise to the expectations and the exhibitors were unhappy that tyres were not adequately represented and promoted

In the months leading up to the event, the show has always been promoted as one of the world’s leading automotive and accessory market sector events presenting an international meeting point to bring the industry, retail and workshops markets together at one very extensive show.
This year, for the first time ever there was special significance for the tyre industry in the UK and Europe for the event as Automechnika 2018 became the new venue for the former Essen Reifen Show (held in Essen, Germany) which up to two years ago was a firmly established and highly popular European event for the tyre sector.
Many people in the European tyre market (including myself) felt the switching venues from Essen to Frankfurt was a significant gamble as never before has a large European tyre show become part of mainly automotive parts and product show.
There is no doubt that the Automechanika Frankfurt 2018 show was a qualified success as it broke a number of significant records for the exhibition which was celebrating its 25th Anniversary as a Biennial international trade fair. For example a record number of visitors came through the doors and there was more exhibition space than ever before.
During the five day show another record-breaking 136,000 visitors from 181 countries strolled around an extensive variety of stands covering all sectors of the automotive industry as well as an impressive amount of tyre-related products and services.
The all-new Reifen Trade Fair was anticipated to be additional attraction to the Automechanika show and a perfect fit between the automotive and tyre market sectors. Aamazingly, there was only a single hall – hall (12A) — for tyres, and it was on the upper level of the hall.
I chatted with a number exhibitors in the Reifen Hall and every company expressed an unexpected disappointment that tyres were only represented and promoted in just a single hall. Many pointed out there was no atmosphere and visitors to the upper floor hall complained that it was difficult to find.
To its credit, the hall was well designed and the stands covered with an extensive range of products and services including tyres for all sectors, tyre casings, tubes, new tyre innovations, wheels and rims, tyre repair, tyre management systems and storage equipment.
But reluctantly I came away with the impression that the show was dismal for the tyre market sector. It was also interesting to note that all of the exhibitors I spoke to openly admitted that they were sad to see a former leading tyre show in Europe becoming only a part of an even larger automotive exhibition. Everyone agreed that this bold move by Reifen Essen had not worked!
So it’s back to the ‘drawing board’ a new tire show in Frankfurt if they want to remain a competitive force in tyre exhibitions in the future. I hope they can learn from this first transition and find an improved partnership with the Automechanika series to make more of an impact in two years time. However, there is one other big obstacle to this happening which revolves around the fact that at the moment we have two European tyre shows competing against each other in the space of just four months and this simply cannot happen again!