Does Our Industry Need Another Event?

Posted by Kathleen Schmatz on May 19, 2014

So, does our industry need or want another trade show?

I have been asked this question dozens of times by our members and other industry colleagues ever since Messe Frankfurt and Advanstar Communications announced on April 30 that they were launching Automechanika Chicago next year.

The simple answer to that question is that the industry manufacturers and buyers and repair shop owners will ultimately decide whether they want to participate in one more trade show and/or training and education event.

We at the Auto Care Association believe in an open and free marketplace and we believe that competition is good. And there is a lot of competition out there already in the trade show and education and training arena.

Obviously we believe that AAPEX is the premier event of the year for our industry. We take great pride in the fact that AAPEX has evolved far beyond a traditional trade show. Today, AAPEX is a global experience that not only showcases all of the automotive parts, products, equipment and technologies from around the world, but also provides quality customized education and training sessions for repair shop and store owners and managers, WDs, jobbers and professional technicians. We call it AAPEXedu.

In addition to AAPEX, there are a number of other successful annual events designed to meet the needs of our industry. They include NACE and CARS, hosted by the Automotive Service Association, the ASA Midwest’s Vision show and the Auto Wares Tech Expo.

Again, I will wait along with everyone else to see whether our industry will support Automechanika Chicago. However, I do feel compelled to comment on the difference between trade shows run by trade associations and trade shows run by for-profit companies.

The Auto Care Association and our AAPEX partners MEMA/AASA reinvest the proceeds from AAPEX back into the industry. Our associations rely on the revenue from AAPEX to provide valuable programs and services to our respective member companies. For the Auto Care Association, AAPEX is the wellspring that made the Right to Repair victory possible and funds the Be Car Care Aware consumer education campaign and developed technology standards and solutions, for example.

I sincerely hope that Advanstar and Messe Frankfurt will follow our example and give back some of what they take from the industry for this event.