Innovation Awards

Automechanika Johannesburg – Entries now open for 2023 Innovation Awards

The countdown to the eighth Automechanika Johannesburg has begun and with four months to go before the official opening of the event on 5 September 2023, entries for the coveted…

Innovation Awards

The countdown to the eighth Automechanika Johannesburg has begun and with four months to go before the official opening of the event on 5 September 2023, entries for the coveted Innovation Awards are now open.

The event will run until 7 September and is once again expected to attract visitors from across the African continent and beyond.

“Whether it be parts, accessories, tools, mobility services, autonomous driving or intelligent software for workshops and car dealerships, Messe Frankfurt South Africa is confident that manufacturers and suppliers in the automotive aftermarket have a wealth of new products and innovations that will qualify to enter the competition,” says Tracy Gounden, Portfolio Manager of Messe Frankfurt South Africa, the organiser of Automechanika Johannesburg. “After the immense interest shown and the high standard of entries received for last year’s Awards, we look forward to receiving a record number of entries for 2023.”

The cut-off date to enter is midday on Friday, 18 August 2023.

As always, entries will be judged by a group of hand-picked jury members that are all experts in fields such as macro-economics, import and export, aftermarket retail, business and skills development, transformation, sustainability, automotive technology and more. They will be tasked with identifying the most innovative and pioneering automotive products that are manufactured, supplied or distributed in South Africa.

Organisations represented on the panel of judges will include, among others, the Retail Motor Industry (RMI), the Automobile Associated (AA), the National Association of Automotive Component and Allied Manufacturers (NAACAM), the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (NAAMSA), the Automotive Industry Export Council (AIEC), the Motor Industry Bargaining Council (MIBCO), the Automotive Industry Development Centre (AIDC), and the sponsors of the event. After an initial vetting process by the convenor of the competition, the jury will be required to score each entry on a predetermined list of criteria that covers the design, quality, efficiency, functionality, practicality, value for money, environmental friendliness and – of course – innovation of the product. The names of the members of the jury will be announced in due course.

In keeping with the latest automotive trends, both in South Africa and abroad, the 10 categories for the 2023 competition are:

  1. Parts
  2. Accessories & Customising
  3. Driver Assistance & Safety
  4. E-mobility
  5. Data & Connectivity
  6. Diagnostics & Tuning
  7. Repair & Maintenance
  8. Original Equipment Products & Services
  9. IT & Management
  10. Service Station & Car Wash equipment

Winning the coveted award isn’t the only benefit of participation. Over the years the finalists and winners in the Innovation Awards have been showcased in a special exhibit at the show and have garnered huge interest from industry representatives and the public alike. Winners have been able to successfully harness their achievements in the competition to bolster their marketing programmes and – as a result – have tasted local and international success.

“This is because Automechanika Johannesburg serves as a gateway for the growing African automotive aftermarket, targeting visitors from sub-Saharan Africa, and is respected as the largest event of its type on the African continent. There is no better way to gain industry and consumer recognition than by taking part in a highly respected competition that aims to award the best of the best in terms of innovation and forward thinking,” Gounden remarks.

The ultimate accolade in the 2022 competition went to SynapCAM, designed, and developed in the USA and South Africa by Synap Inc, and launched on the local market at Automechanika Johannesburg 2022.

In order to be considered for the award, prospective entrants must submit photographs and a detailed description of any automotive aftermarket or original equipment product they have developed, manufactured, imported, or distributed in South Africa. There is no entry fee.

The description of each product must include its country of origin, when it was introduced to the South African market, the category of the aftermarket in which it competes, as well as the following:

  • Perceived innovative quality
  • The solution the product aims to provide
  • Its functionality and user benefits
  • Perceived economic efficiency
  • Safety aspects it promotes
  • Environmental aspects it promotes
  • Its relevance to the automotive sector in which it competes

Based on the photographs and descriptions – which must include information relating to the technical characteristics and relevance of each product, jury members will score and rank each item. Products that achieve the highest marks on a collective basis will be deemed to be finalists in the competition. Representatives of the companies whose products have been selected will be required to submit – on Monday, 21 August – two examples of their entries for physical scrutiny by jury members.

The finalists and winners of the Innovation Awards will be showcased in a special display at Automechanika Johannesburg 2023, with the winners and their innovations being honoured as part of the trade fair’s official opening on Tuesday, 5 September.

Innovation Awards


Entrants are requested to submit a completed entry form by e-mail on or before midday on Friday, 18 August 2023. This must include their product motivations, along with hi-resolution pictures of at least 1 Mb in size of the items, as well as the name, e-mail address and telephone number of the person responsible for the submission, along with details of the company he or she represents. Please note that no incomplete or late entries will be accepted.

Entries must be sent to the competition’s convenor, Liana Reiners, at the following e-mail address:

Queries or requests for additional information on the Innovation Awards can be sent to the same e-mail address. Alternatively, contact Liana Reiners on 083 407 4600 or via e-mail at Please visit for information on Automechanika Johannesburg 2023. The trade fair runs from 5 – 7 September 2023.

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