Body & Paint Championships In South Africa: Taking The ‘Big Five’ To The Finals

With a lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo and rhinoceros on the bonnet, Etienne Dutoit is heading to the finals of the Automechanika Body & Paint World Championships in Frankfurt. The painter was named the national winner by the jury in South Africa on 21 September 2019 with a car bonnet displaying an impressive interpretation of the South African flag.

For Dutoit this means one thing: he’s going to Frankfurt! The professional painter won the second round of the international Automechanika Body & Paint World Championships, which took place in Johannesburg, South Africa. The competition was supported by SATA, Kansai Plascon, Launch Technologies and Kapatal Brands.

The top three finalists all chose the South African flag as their motif, yet their different interpretations and approaches to the subject matter gave rise to three unique car bonnets. Whereas Hannes Trollip played with various textures, Thomas Holder focused on a flag with gentle transitions on a black background. The winner’s design was notable for its creativity, symbolism and precision. In addition to the ‘big five’, Dutoit integrated a variety of elements into each colour zone of the flag in order to emphasise the significance of each – from the country’s beauty and cultural diversity to its dark past. He poured approximately 135 hours into his creation.

Dutoit, who works for Plascon, explains: “I wanted to create something that illustrates South Africa’s diversity and its history. You rarely get the chance to create something like this in your daily work. Designing this car bonnet was a time-consuming and nerve-racking process, but I wanted to do it right, and to create something that I could be proud of. I gave it my all.”

The bonnets were evaluated by a panel of experts according to criteria that include the uniqueness of the design, its relevance to the theme, harmonious colours, the use of environmentally friendly products, the operational safety and management of the workshop, the type and configuration of the spray guns used, and much more. The panel comprised Wolfgang Auer, Editor-in-Chief of FML and co-founder of the international Automechanika Body & Paint World Championships, Michel Malik, CEO of BodyShop News International, Ian Groat, publisher of Automotive Refinisher South Africa, and Joshua Low, Managing Director of Messe Frankfurt South Africa.

Dutoit’s remaining competitors at the finals in 2020 will be chosen in the months ahead. Great Britain’s national winner was selected back in June, while the participants from China, Mexico, Dubai and Germany will be determined in the upcoming rounds. The next round will take place from 3 to 6 December 2019 at Automechanika Shanghai.

With his car bonnet, the national winner from Johannesburg has succeeded in telling a piece of South Africa’s history. To do so, Dutoit used a variety of techniques and created elaborate templates. The blue area of the flag, with ornaments and white accents, symbolises the sky and the sea. Various shades of green illustrate the beauty of South Africa’s forests, yellow depicts the sun and the country’s rich trove of natural resources, and when the black area of the flag is viewed from a certain angle, a silhouette of South Africa’s former president, Nelson Mandela, can be seen.

To create his shade of red, Dutoit mixed a variety of reds and integrated water-droplet effects. “This symbolises the blood and tears that were shed during South Africa’s struggles on the road to freedom,” he said. The bonnet also depicts South Africa’s ‘big five’ animals, spread out over the outline of the African continent: the lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo and rhinoceros.

While the panel has already chosen a winner, voting is still ongoing for the People’s Choice Award. Hundreds of trade visitors to Automechanika Johannesburg seized their chance to view the bonnets and vote for their favourites. Now, other interested individuals and paintwork fans can vote for their own favourites online – voting is open until 2 October 2019. The participant with the most votes will receive the People’s Choice Award, as well as a surprise package from SATA valued at approximately €700. Vote for your favourite at www.automechanika.com/vote.

More information is available at: www.automechanika.com/wettbewerb.

Automechanika Body & Paint World Championships: Round 2 In South Africa

The Automechanika Body & Paint World Championships will be held in South Africa for round two, following the debut in Great Britain. The next winner for the final round in Frankfurt in 2020 will be determined at Automechanika Johannesburg, which is taking place from 18 to 21 September 2019.

The second round of the competition will require painters to design the hood of a car using a variety of techniques. Each hood design is meant to be inspired by the country in which the Automechanika event is taking place. In the first round of the competition at Automechanika Birmingham, participants used a wide range of motifs, including Union Jack flags, poppies and Brexit.

The national winners from Great Britain and South Africa will be joined by four other contestants for the final round. One of the remaining participants will be chosen later this year at Automechanika Shanghai, with two more being chosen next year at Automechanika Dubai and Automechanika Mexico City. The German finalist will be determined on the first two days of Automechanika Frankfurt, after which an international grand prize winner will be selected.

Automechanika Johannesburg has been taking place every two years since 2009, with the most recent event welcoming around 600 exhibitors and over 12,000 visitors.

“I am planning to integrate the colours of the South African flag into my entry,” said Etienne DuToit, one of the entrants in the Johannesburg event. “My artwork will show our hero Madiba (Nelson Mandela), as well as our ‘big five’: the lion, leopard, rhino, elephant and cape buffalo. I will be spraying the rhino red to raise awareness of the danger the species is in due to poaching. This competition gives me the opportunity to showcase my skills using different techniques and shows how proud I am to be a South African citizen.”

The participants’ car hood creations can be viewed in Hall 6, Stand 6E017 throughout the event, and the national winner will be announced on 21 September. The competition is being supported by various international and regional firms in the field of body and paintwork, including SATA GmbH & Co. KG, Kansai Plascon, Kapatal Brands and Launch Technologies SA.

Competition Name
Date
Automechanika Johannesburg18-21 September 2019
Automechanika Shanghai3-6 December 2019
Automechanika Dubai7-9 June 2020
INA PAACE Automechanika Mexico City22-24 July 2020
Automechanika Frankfurt
(Germany’s national winner along with the finals)
8-12 September 2020

Messe Frankfurt Reports Record Growth

Trade show organiser Messe Frankfurt announced that its sales grew seven per cent in 2018, achieving record levels. Messe Frankfurt is the organiser of the Automechanika brand of fairs worldwide.

Wolfgang Marzin, President and CEO of Messe Frankfurt, announced at a press conference that the group succeeded in setting a new record of around €718 million in sales.

Officials noted that Messe Frankfurt is retaining its third-place position in a challenging and international competitive environment, as well as being well ahead of all German competitors and all worldwide trade fair companies with its own exhibition infrastructure.

According to the annual financial statements for financial year 2018, Messe Frankfurt’s consolidated annual net income for 2018 was more than €50 million, around 25 per cent up on 2017.

With a total of 507 events worldwide in financial year 2018, more events were held under the Messe Frankfurt umbrella than ever before, drawing almost five million people.

“The very high levels of customer satisfaction throughout our various industry sectors are central to the success of our events worldwide,” Marzin said.

Automechanika Shanghai 2019 Embraces The Evolving Automotive Ecosystem

The upcoming 15th edition of Automechanika Shanghai is set to take place at the National Exhibition and Convention Center (NECC) on 3 to 6 December 2019 (Tuesday to Friday). The show expects to host over 6,270 exhibitors across the impressive 350,000 sqm of exhibition space, which will occupy the venue’s current exhibition area. A growing number of special sectors, zones and fringe programme events will amplify many of the latest advancements and rising trends throughout numerous areas of the industry.

Fiona Chiew, Deputy General Manager, Messe Frankfurt (HK) Ltd, said: “Over the past 14 editions, Automechanika Shanghai has continued to thrive alongside Asia’s automotive industry; China has now become the world’s largest auto market.  When the show first opened its doors back in 2004, it hosted just 235 exhibitors and 9,000 visitors. In 2018, a staggering 150,568 visitors filtered through every corner of the NECC. It has continued to embrace change and nurtured development by way of new themes and elements. Looking to the future, we plan to collaborate further with research institutes, universities, industry organisations, finance and insurance firms, and the wider automotive community, so that we can work together and advance the fair’s automotive ecosystem.”

Developing an automotive ecosystem

Automechanika Shanghai will echo the progressing concept of the automotive ecosystem. The developing term comes as a result of rapid advancements in the industry that are currently remapping the automotive value chain. It zooms in on the concept of connectivity; not just through emerging technology, but also the notion of networks and knowledge sharing. As a result, Automechanika Shanghai will place more focus on digitalisation, future technologies and services, as well as shaping more opportunities in the fringe programme, to work closer with research institutes and the wider auto community.

Digital trends spark new opportunities

The Tomorrow’s Service & Mobility sector will, once again, become a central area of the fair to demonstrate the show’s strengthened ability for emphasising digital trends and connectivity. As such, the sector shines a light on communication between the vehicle, infrastructure, pedestrians and networks. With this in mind, exhibitors will cover the latest innovations for electromobility, intelligent vehicle technology, car connectivity, mobility services, as well as lightweight materials and more.

The evolving supply chain and aftermarket

The automotive service sector continues to be one of the most important aspects of the fair, as many maturing automotive markets, like China, are becoming more established. The rise of China’s automotive aftermarket will bring forward new business opportunities to its underlying sectors and will rely on the continuous smart transformation of the supply chain. On account of this, the Supply Chain and Chain Store zone returns to address many of the changing needs in the transforming local auto market.

Customisation continues to soar

Customisation is another area that is seeing a steady progression. Sitting side-by-side, Customising will span across Hall 6.2 and 7.2, to cover an expansive total of 44,000 sqm of space. The sector is set to include the latest trends for exterior, interior and high-performance customisation. It will feature sport exhaust systems, sport air filters, and sport chassis, as well as engine tuning, audio modification, seats, recreational vehicles (RV) and off-road vehicle modification. Personalisation will also be a key element in the sector with interior design, body work elements, car wrapping, spray painting, and airbrush systems on display.

Additionally, the automotive lighting industry has undergone a new wave of transformation. Organic light-emitting diode (OLED), laser and intelligent lights have led to more creative and technological innovation throughout the sector.

In addition to the Tomorrow’s Service & Mobility and Customising sectors, the exhibition will host thousands of other exhibitors across five other product categories. Parts & Components, Electronics & Systems, Accessories, Repair & Maintenance and REIFEN (Tyres & Wheels) will offer comprehensive coverage of the entire supply chain.

Automechanika Launches Body & Paint World Championships

Automechanika is holding the first international Body & Paint competition in the exhibition’s history, in association with DeBeer Refinish, Octotal and SATA. Body shop professionals will be competing against one another at six Automechanika shows worldwide, from England to China, with the national event winners to travel to Automechanika Frankfurt for the grand finale from 8 to 12 September 2020.

Automechanika Frankfurt will be the first Automechanika event to feature Body & Paint as an independent product category in 2020, and organisers are celebrating the occasion by launching an international competition, with events taking place in six countries.

Body & Paint professionals will go head to head and compete with other national body shops by designing the bonnet of a car, using the country in which the local Automechanika fair is being held as their inspiration. The event series will be launched for the first time at Automechanika Birmingham from 4 to 6 June 2019, and will be followed by competitions in Johannesburg, Shanghai, Dubai and Mexico City. In each location, a panel of experts will pick a national winner, who will then get to go to Frankfurt for the finals. In addition, trade visitors will be able to help select the people’s choice winner by voting for their personal favourites at the event and online.

The competition criteria include design uniqueness, the link between the design and the country in which the local Automechanika event is taking place, the use of various techniques (effects, matt/glossy finish, etc.), a harmonious colour palette and the type of spray guns used, and workshop safety considerations and the use of environmentally friendly products. Work that relies solely on transfers or airbrushing is not the focal point of this contest.

Kick-off in Birmingham

The first stage of the contest will take place at Automechanika Birmingham from 4 to 6 June 2019. With the support of Debeer Refinish and Octoral as headline sponsor, as well as SATA and the UK’s NBRA (National Body and Repair Association), various workshop teams will be presenting their designs at the event while offering visitors insight into the creation of their artwork with photos and videos.

“It is great to be able to see the creativity and artistry with which the painters approach their task,” said Wineth Malvar, Global Marketing Director – Brand, Channel & Segment, Automotive Finishes Division for Sherwin-Williams. “We are proud to be a part of this industry and are looking forward to seeing what the first round of the competition has to offer at Automechanika Birmingham.”

You can take part: Design or vote

Does your team belong on the ‘Mount Olympus’ for paintwork? Then submit your application now at www.automechanika.com/competition for the event venue of your choice. Sponsors will select the participants and – with a bit of skill and creativity (because luck has nothing to do with it) – you can earn an invitation to the finals in Frankfurt.

All Automechanika visitors are welcome to visit the special event showcase on location and help select the people’s choice winner – or you can vote online at www.automechanika.com/competition. Voting opens on the first day of the respective trade fair and continues for 14 days.

Competition locations and dates:

Automechanika Birmingham                                 4-6 June 2019
Automechanika Johannesburg                              18-21 September 2019
Automechanika Shanghai                                      3-6 December 2019
Automechanika Dubai                                            7-9 June 2020
INA PAACE Automechanika Mexico City            22-24 July 2020
Automechanika Frankfurt                                       8-12 September 2020

New Zones Spotlight Rising Trends At Automechanika Kuala Lumpur 2019

The 11th edition of Automechanika Kuala Lumpur will be held from 21 to 23 March 2019 at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre (KLCC). Attendees will be able to explore the latest products, services and technologies from over 300 exhibitors across 9710 square metres of space. The show will amplify the rising trends in connectivity, digitalisation and electrification through a host of new supporters, themed zones and fringe programme events.

Located at the centre of the ASEAN region, organisers say Malaysia is recognised as an ideal country for digital investment. Reports from The World Bank Group suggest that the digital economy will contribute 20 per cent towards the country’s GDP by 2020. Digitalisation will, therefore, continue to penetrate every aspect of day-to-day life, which includes the automotive industry. Organisers say the trend has already started to revolutionise the automotive market, shaping dynamic growth and development opportunities for many local companies.

To showcase the latest digital automotive trends, Automechanika Kuala Lumpur will introduce a new Internet of Things (IoT) zone to delve deeper into the potential benefits of IoT technology and its application throughout the global industry. Organisers says the influence of IoT has created fresh demand across the entire value chain, with research suggesting that one connected car can generate higher revenue over its entire lifecycle than 10 non-connected cars. Malaysia is making significant progress towards completing autonomous vehicle research and development by 2025, showing that the local industry will remain strong with the prospective demand for automated cars. Therefore, upstream and downstream sectors of the industry are now facing both new opportunities, as well as some challenges to maintain competitiveness and meet the changing needs of the market.

As such, the IoT zone will feature both hardware and software developers emphasising the combined power of digitalisation, connectivity and advanced software capabilities in the automotive industry.

Another zone making its debut at the fair is the highly-anticipated Truck zone. The area will spotlight a number of trends that have sparked a rapid growth phase for the commercial vehicle sector across the region. With Malaysia becoming the third largest commercial vehicle market in Asia Pacific, the future of the sector remains positive. The country’s commercial vehicle sector is expected to see growth at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of three per cent, which translates to more than 84,000-unit sales by 2025. As a result, more and more international players are now entering the market to offer their products and technology.

At Automechanika Kuala Lumpur, the show’s fringe programme will highlight the region’s most pressing topics as well as emphasise the themes running through the fairground. For example, the Fleet Management Conference will explore the synergy between IoT and the commercial vehicle sector, while another fringe programme event taking place at the show is the Collision Repair Training Workshop, returning after a successful presence at the last show. It is run and presented by I-CAR Australia CEO, Mark Czvitkovits.

For more information abocut Automechanika Kuala Lumpur, visit www.automechanika-kl.com.

Automechanika Jeddah 2019 Announces Extended Hours And New Venue

The countdown to Automechanika Jeddah 2019 has begun, with more than 80 exhibitors from 15 countries making their final preparations ahead of Saudi’s dedicated trade fair for the automotive aftermarket next week in Jeddah.

Taking place at a new venue – from 26-27 February 2019 at the Jeddah Hilton Hotel – Automechanika Jeddah is set to present the latest trends and innovations from some of the biggest names in the global automotive aftermarket and services industry.

The Automechanika brand’s Sub-Licensor Messe Frankfurt Middle East and Saudi-based organiser ACE Group also announced extended timings for the biennial event, with thousands of expected Saudi trade buyers and auto professionals granted free entry from 10am – 9pm on both days.

“The extended timings will ensure visitors can maximise the time to meet more exhibitors over these two days,” said Nathan Lloyd, Chief Operating Officer of Messe Frankfurt Middle East. “There is plenty to look forward to, including innovative product launches, industry workshops, seminars, and of course valuable business networking.”

Automechanika Jeddah returns with its Truck Competence initiative for products dedicated to the entire value chain in the truck sector, while the global presence is underlined by five country pavilions from Turkey, Korea, China, Taiwan and Hong Kong.

Also returning is Automechanika Academy in partnership with Autolink and Institute of the Motor Industry, where C-Level recruitment in the automotive industry and developments in electric and hybrid vehicles are among the key topics discussed by industry experts.

More information is available at www.automechanikajeddah.com.

Automechanika Shanghai Highlights Events Programme Of Upcoming 2018 Show

While more than 140,000 automotive buyers are preparing to descend upon the National Exhibition and Convention Center (NECC) in a few weeks for Automechanika Shanghai, organisers say they are working behind the scenes to ensure the high expectations of the show’s fringe programme are met. This year’s show will see some 50 fringe events take place, covering a strong collection of topics and pressing issues related to the entire automotive world.

Altogether, over 250 senior level representatives are taking part as speakers in this year’s fringe programme at Automechanika Shanghai, held from 28 November to 1 December 2018. The events are expected to inspire participants with new ideas, provide the latest industry trends, expand their business networks and shed light on the industry’s future developments.

The aftermarket in China continues to grow at a rapid rate, and the sector is the country’s biggest market for automotive developments. This continued growth has been met with a number of new opportunities and challenges, so organisers say the show will shine a spotlight on this topic through the Automotive Aftermarket Summit 2018 on 29 November. The event will gather leading companies from the automotive aftermarket sector, including the China Automobile Dealers Association, Fix Auto China and Carzone amongst many others.

The summit will explore growth hotspots and potential across both domestic and international markets, whilst also forecasting future developments and collaboration opportunities for the sector. The summit will also cover the differences and impacts of e-commerce between the US and Chinese multinational automotive parts manufacturers in the aftermarket industry, the development of service chain stores, the outlook of independent workshops, financing, insurance and more.

Meanwhile, the AIAG Auto Parts Purchasing Leadership and Suppliers Summit on 28 November, organised by the Automotive Industry Action Group, has invited purchasing executives from GM, Ford, Fiat-Chrysler, PACCAR, Volvo, Geely, NIO, Bosch, BorgWarner, Cummins, Valeo and other OEMs and Tier-1 suppliers to share their sourcing strategies and requirements, as well as their quality management systems in Asia and China. The platform will serve as an opportunity to learn and exchange thoughts on sourcing and quality with hundreds of purchasing leaders across the supply chain.

Meanwhile, the global automotive industry is undergoing an unprecedented transformation at all fronts, from autonomous driving and digital disruptions, to the rise of sharing economy and social trends. To address this, organisers say several related conferences will shed light on the future of service and mobility, including the Tomorrow’s Service & Mobility Summit 2018 on 28 November.

The summit will invite renowned domestic experts and scholars to discuss current and future developments in the areas of car connectivity, new energy vehicles and autonomous driving. Specific reference will be given to the differences between China and Germany in terms of safety standards and the implementation challenges of autonomous driving, as well as blueprint sharing for the future of service and mobility.

Elsewhere, the advancement of automotive materials has been playing an increasingly important role in the automotive manufacturing and design process, and particularly for automotive light-weighting. Held on 28 November, the Application of Advanced Composite Materials in New Energy Vehicles Summit 2018 will talk the audience through the application of advanced composite materials across the entire production cycle of new energy vehicles, from design, product development and manufacturing, to moulding and cost efficiency. This will provide solutions for many of the difficult problems the industry faces. In addition, a dedicated display zone, titled ‘Advanced Composite Materials & Automotive Lightweight Innovation Application’, will showcase the contribution of advanced composite materials at the fair.

In recent years, the buzz around environmental protection has swept across the automotive aftermarket in China, and traditional service sectors are now facing an increasing amount of pressure to cope with higher environmental requirements. The Green Automotive Painting Summit 2018 on 29 November will discuss current industry developments in terms of environmental protection policies, environmental products and solutions to upgrading business in terms of materials, painting technologies and operations. Representatives from leading companies in this field, such as Festool, Fix Auto, Jingzhongjing, MAXLINK and Yatu Advanced Materials will take part in the event.

Aside from the above fringe events taking place during Automechanika Shanghai this year, a number of other seminars, conferences and summits have been arranged for participants to explore. Additional events will include the likes of:

  • Autohaus China 10th Shanghai International Dealer Summit
  • Automotive Parts Industry Development Summit
  • Collision Industry Summit
  • Intelligent Technology of Public Transportation Seminar
  • Key Automotive Electronics Technologies Forum
  • Service Chain Stores Forum
  • Supply Chain Innovation of Automotive Aftermarket Parts Forum
  • The 4th Summit: Merger and Acquisition Strategies for Chinese Automotive Corporations in the Overseas Markets

For further information about Automechanika Shanghai 2018 and the show’s concurrent fringe programme, visit www.automechanika-shanghai.com.

Saudi Arabia’s Automotive Sector Set For Rapid Transformation

Saudi Arabia’s automotive ecosystem is set for a rapid transformation in the coming years, with 20 per cent of the female population, or three million drivers, expected to be added to the Kingdom’s roads by 2020, according to a recent whitepaper.

An October 2018 report said the June 2018 lifting of the ban on women driving in Saudi Arabia, along with recovering oil prices and economic policies aimed at boosting consumer spending, will result in an eight per cent per year increase of passenger vehicles sales until 2022.

The whitepaper, published by global research company Aranca, added that in addition to new car sales, the positive impact of a new customer segment over the next one to three years will be felt in the Kingdom’s automotive aftermarket, which was valued at US$7.4 billion in 2017.

According to Aranca, the Saudi Arabian car parc stood at 7.3 million in 2017, with 438,000 new passenger cars and 110,000 new commercial vehicles sold for the year. Tyres accounted for the greatest slice of revenue in the Saudi spare parts market, with a 30 per cent share in 2017 (US$2.2 billion), followed by lubricants (US$1.4 billion), batteries (US$400 million), and other components (US$3.4 billion).

Aranca’s whitepaper was published ahead of Automechanika Jeddah 2019, the only dedicated trade show for the automotive aftermarket and service industry in the Kingdom’s western region. The third edition of the three-day event will take place from 26-28 February 2019 at the Jeddah Centre for Forums and Events, with more than 150 exhibitors from 20 countries locked in for the show, awaiting fresh opportunities. Many of these opportunities will likely arise in Saudi’s western regions of Madinah and Makkah, where more than one million women are expected to get behind the wheel by 2020.

The whitepaper further said that key industry players are already taking initiatives to capitalise on opportunities created by women being allowed to drive, including the creation of women-only car showrooms, automotive insurance claims centres and driving schools dedicated to women.

Meanwhile, the rising car parc is setting the stage for solid growth in the Kingdom’s aftermarket. Aranca said 10 million vehicles will ply Saudi roads by 2022, including 6.5 million passenger vehicles and 3.5 million commercial vehicles. As a result, demand for spare parts and related automotive services will grow six per cent annually, reaching a value of US$9.8 billion in 2022.

A market ripe with opportunity will be underlined by the 3rd edition of Automechanika Jeddah, which is co-organised by Dubai-based Messe Frankfurt Middle East and Saudi-headquartered ACE Exhibitions.

“Consumption of auto spare parts and services in Saudi Arabia will grow at a healthy rate in the coming years, aided by the addition of a whole new segment of the population that is now allowed to drive,” said Mahmut Gazi Bilikozen, Automechanika Jeddah’s Show Director.

“Longer warranty periods, growing vehicle parc, and environmental factors that lead to high wear and tear on car parts also provide added impetus in the auto aftermarket, with Automechanika Jeddah 2019 presenting an unrivalled platform for global suppliers to tap into emerging opportunities.”

The international presence at Automechanika Jeddah 2019 will be underlined by five country pavilions from Germany, the USA, Turkey, Korea and China. The trade show is expected to attract more than 4000 Saudi trade visitors, as they seek solutions across seven product groups: Parts & Components, Electronics & Systems, Accessories & Customizing, Repair & Maintenance, Dealer & Workshop Management, Car Wash, Care & Reconditioning, and Tyres & Batteries.

The show will also feature the Truck Competence initiative, where more than half of the exhibitors will showcase their products dedicated to the entire value chain in the truck sector, from truck parts and accessories, to workshop equipment, body repair and care.

Aranca’s Saudi automotive aftermarket whitepaper is available to download on the Automechanika Jeddah’s website at www.automechanikajeddah.com.

Axalta Europe Tour Focused on Technology

Axalta Coating Systems recently concluded its “European Excursion” that saw a large group of customers and distributors visit several automotive landmarks through-out Germany, including Automechanika in Frankfurt.

The tour, which took place in early September, provided the opportunity for customers to broaden their knowledge on the most advanced repair techniques, view the latest industry-related products on offer, as well as network with like-minded repairers.

One of the highlights of the week was an exclusive I-CAR training session on carbon fibre. This high-end product is commonly found in vehicles that are positioned in the prestige end of the market. The training provided a better understanding and a more informed perspective on the technology used in prestige vehicles and the impact on the repair process. This session was a forerunner to the OE factory tours at Mercedes-Benz and Porsche in Stuttgart and BMW in Munich.

“Our European Excursion provided a good opportunity for our customers to mix work and pleasure,” explained Paul Wake, Axalta’s Sales Director and host of the tour. “There was great interaction between customers from all around Australia and New Zealand, each comparing notes on different aspects of running an auto-repair facility.”

Automechanika 2018 proved to be a big hit for seeking out new technology and the latest in product launches. Axalta’s partners – Finixa and Sagola – were both exhibiting and presented their latest offering to the group.

Axalta’s “Win a trip to Germany” competition prize winners Franco Missaglia from Stylefinish AutoBody in Victoria and Craig Hall from Craig Hall Bodyworks in the ACT were also present on the tour.