The first-ever combined NACE and Automechanika automotive aftermarket trade show and training event was held in Chicago from July 26-29.
Participation in this huge event, which combined both training and a huge trade show, didn’t quite live up to expectations. Although 8,000 participants preregistered, actual attendance was less than 6,000.
“We need to give ourselves more time,” explained Dennis Smith, President and CEO, Messe Frankfurt North America, the U.S. organization behind Automechanika. “This year marked the first time that we’ve combined our efforts with NACE, and I’m convinced that this is the right formula going forward. We’ve already committed to next year’s event taking place in Atlanta, Ga.”
With its vast exhibition hall housing 600 vendors and an impressive lineup of workshops and conferences, this trade show provided an unparalleled opportunity for shop managers and technical staff to increase their knowledge base while gaining a better understanding of the latest tool and equipment offerings available in the market.
The new format combining mechanical and collision repair vendors seemed to meet with the approval of participants, as did the mixed training sessions, which provided an opportunity for collision service providers to pick up new technical knowledge, and vice-versa.
“We will continue to pursue this dual format, as the services offered by these aftermarket service providers are increasingly complimentary,” said Dennis Smith. “Obviously we wish to attract more participants, but we prefer to focus on quality versus quantity. We will pursue this issue with our automotive aftermarket association partners as well as asking our vendor partners to increase their involvement.”