The eighth Automechanika Johannesburg took place from 5 to 7 September at the Johannesburg Expo Center.
As with its previous incarnations and that of its global counterparts, it did not only make good on what it promised but went above and beyond. Over 20 countries took part in this iconic trade fair with more than 500 exhibitors in the various categories of the automotive aftermarket which included parts and components; electronics and systems, accessories and customizing; management and digital solutions; repair and maintenance; carwash, care and reconditioning; and tires.
To establish its class and pedigree, the fair kicked off with a CEO breakfast where the crème de la crème of the industry were treated to speakers such as Michael Dehn (MD of Messe Frankfurt SA), Andile Africa (CEO of the Automotive Development Industry Center), Anjue Hirachund (Chairperson of Tshwane Economic Development Agency) and Dr Norman Lamprecht (Executive Manager of Trade Exports and Research at the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa). Some of the riveting subjects that were covered during the breakfast were the work being done on the township automotive hubs and identifying where the South African auto industry is lagging.
Various conferences were held over the three days spanning the fair. Of these the Retail Motor Industry Organisation’s (RMI) conference on Skills, Training and Labour and the Collision Repairers Association’s (CRA) conference on the general state of the industry were definite highlights. At the former government heavyweights such as Sabeleo Buthelezi the chief director of special projects at the Department of Higher Education and Training and industry veteran Jeanne Esterhuizen addressed attendees. At the CRA conference charismatic and highly entertaining international auto industry expert Andrew Marsh was the star attraction. Known to have controversial opinions, Andrew did not disappoint as he aired some thoughts counter to the current zeitgeist concerning electric vehicles.
The global presence at Automechanika Johannesburg this year included exhibitors from China, Taiwan, Turkey, Singapore, Brazil, and India. Of these the largest contingent was from China, but the two countries that stole the show with their respective exhibition spaces were Brazil and Turkey. It was clear with both their dazzling exhibitions and the amount of feet they attracted that they came meaning business and succeeded in their pursuit.
It would be impossible to acknowledge each participant’s contribution to the success of the fair but a few heavyweights in their respective industries lend gravitas to the overall respectability of the show. These included ALP Africa who was founded in 1985 and is globally acknowledged as the pioneer in Polymer based products; African Truck Parts, a stalwart in the truck spare industry; Shell; global shipping powerhouse Maersk, Hella who was one of the premier exhibitors, Yacco, BG Automotive, Aisso from Japan, Accurub and Gandaganda, to name but a few.
The industry was also well represented by its main interest organisations such as RMI and CRA. The various affiliates of the RMI such as the Automotive Remanufacturers Association (ARA), Motor Industry Workshop Association (MIWA), National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA), South African Petroleum Retailers Association (SAPRA) and Tyre, Parts and Equipment Association (TEPA) were all strutting their stuff. It was also all hands aboard at the stands of the South African Motor Body Repairers Association (SAMBRA), South Africa’s premium collision repair body. The CRA presence was also crucial as it also plays a major role in the motor body repair industry with its large member base and important work it is doing in raising industry standards and fighting for fair practices.
Networking, product demonstrations and panel discussions were at the order of the day and most exhibitors and visitors Bodyshop News Africa spoke to praised Automechanika Johannesburg 2023 for running like a well-oiled machine and living up to its reputation as the premier automotive aftermarket trade fair. Automechanika Johannesburg once again proved that the automotive aftermarket industry, both global and local, is thriving, robust and ever growing.