Issue: Nov 2008


Gearing up for Automechanika Shanghai



by James Hilton

The world’s second largest Automechanika show is taking place this December. Automechanika Shanghai promises to be the best so far, with an extra 41,000m2 of exhibition floor space, totaling 92,000m2. The exhibition will take place between 10 and 11 December at the Shanghai New International Expo Centre.

A complete range of products for automotive original and aftermarket equipment will be showcased. From low to high-end and from basic to high-tech, the products will be divided into five categories: Parts & Systems, Accessories & Tuning, Repair & Maintenance, IT & Management, and Service Station & Car Wash. 

As China’s position in the global automotive industry grows, Automechanika Shanghai has become China’s leading professional forum for automotive parts, components and the aftermarket industry. According to official figures from China, the country’s auto imports and exports for 2007 were US$70 billion with exports accounting for over 45% of this amount. 

Figures from the National Development and Reform Commission, China’s top economic planner, reveal that Chinese automakers rolled out 9.04 million vehicles in 2007, up 22.9% from the previous year. In 2008, China’s output is expected to exceed 10 million units. Of these, five million will be passenger cars.

Registrations of luxury vehicles in China hit an all time high in January this year. A total of 782,700 vehicles were registered showing a year-on-year increase of 27.6 per cent. The most popular vehicles are SUVs, followed by sedans and MPV models, hatchbacks and sports cars. 

Similarly, China’s export of auto parts has increased more than six-fold, making it one of the country’s fastest-growing categories of exported industrialized parts. Up until a few years ago large-scale auto parts production was only possible in North America, Europe and Japan. Now more than half of China’s auto parts are exported to the United States and the remainder to Europe and Japan. The strength of China’s auto parts sector lies in its electrical and electronic components and in cast-metal parts that require hazardous casting and manual labor for machining.
In 2007, the third Automechanika Shanghai exhibition hosted 22,000 visitors from over 103 countries. According to co-organizers of the show, Messe Frankfurt (Shanghai) Co. Ltd, the third exhibition was the largest to be held outside of Germany. The China National Automotive Industry International Corporation (CNAICO) is also a co-organizer of the show. The top ten visiting countries (in order, greatest first) were Korea, Taiwan, Iran, Russia, India, Japan, Turkey, USA, Denmark and the United Arab Emirates.

Automotive Industries spoke to Jason Cao, deputy general manager of Messe Frankfurt Shanghai.

AI: What is new in the fourth Automechanika Shanghai exhibition?

Jason Cao: New international pavilions. It is the first time that the Malaysian Rubber Export Promotion Council is organizing an exhibitor group to showcase rubber parts products at the show. It is also the first time the show will be certified by the US Department of Commerce and officially supported by MEMA – Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association, for the US pavilion.

We have secured participation from several overseas associations which will bring companies from their countries to AMS. These associations include SERNAUTO – the Spanish Automotive Equipment and Components Manufacturers Association and Probrixia – the Chamber of Commerce of Brescia, Italy. 

UBI France is also organizing a delegation to open up the automotive market to French companies. They are considering the possibility of exhibiting with a French pavilion.

This year we are collaborating with industry associations to organize seminars which will enhance our show activities. For example, we are joining with the Outsourcing Association of Shanghai Management Science Society and the School of Economics and Management of Tongji University to organize The fourth International Forum on Service Outsourcing in the Manufacturing Industry for professionals in the automotive industry.

There will also be seminars about car engine technology and design, vehicle use of electrical appliances; as well as meetings for regional dealers and distributors of maintenance equipment.  

AI: Tell us which categories (parts and systems, accessories and tuning, repair and maintenance, IT and management or service station and car wash) are the most popular and why?

Jason Cao: In terms of participation from the exhibitor side, parts and systems is the most popular sector as there are a large number of companies in this sector. However, with the China auto market getting more mature and more cars on the road, car owners are placing a lot of attention to after sales service and maintenance. Thus, the repair and maintenance sector in the show is getting a lot of attention this year. We have two halls dedicated to repair and maintenance equipment; double the size of last year. 

AI: What kind of growth is the Chinese automotive market going through and has this been affected by the recent global economic slowdown?

Jason Cao: China’s auto sales are still growing fast, although the average growth rate did slow down in the first half of 2008. This was partly due to the high fuel price and global economic slowdown. The country sold 3.61 million passenger cars between January and June, up 17.07% from the same period last year. The growth rate went down by 5.19% from the level recorded in the first half of 2007. 

However, this growth rate far exceeds the world average. FAW Volkswagen and Shanghai Volkswagen were the two top sellers in the first six months of 2008, followed by Shanghai GM. These brands are now looking at China as a more important market. For example, GM’s top selling market for Buick is China, not the USA and VW sells more cars in China than in Germany.

AI: Will this affect Automechanika Shanghai 2008?

Jason Cao: The growing market in China has stimulated the growth of local auto manufacturers. Their growth has lead to the 80% growth of the exhibition this year. The global economic slowdown may affect the promotions budget of some global giants, but this has forced companies to look into other markets with steady growth. China provides one of the best opportunities.

AI: What kind of participation are you anticipating for this year’s show?

Jason Cao: At the end of July we had confirmed exhibitors from more than 1,600 companies. This already exceeded the total number of exhibitors in 2007 (1,250 companies). We are also getting more participation from overseas with international pavilions from Germany, Italy, Korea, Malaysia, Taiwan and the USA. We are expecting over 1,800 exhibitors and more than 30,000 visitors for the show this year.

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