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Automechanika shifts up a gear
Automechanika continues to expand. From 2015, the internationally well-established fair will also be held in Chicago, USA. If all goes according to plan it will be the biggest US venue for technical training and management seminars. 
Automechanika Chicago is being organized by Messe Frankfurt in cooperation with one of the biggest trade-show companies in the USA, Advanstar Communications. The new fair is the 14th member of the rapidly growing Automechanika family of events. The first Automechanika Chicago will be held at the McCormick Place exhibition center in Chicago from 24 to 26 April 2015. 
In another development the Reifen tire fair in Essen, Germany, and Automechanika in Frankfurt am Main have agreed to cooperate. The reasoning is that tires and automotive parts belong together. Messe Frankfurt and Messe Essen will be taking advantage of national and international synergies for their sales and marketing activities. The two will be closely linked from 2016. Some 70% Reifen exhibitors and 80% of Automechanika exhibiting companies come from outside Germany. 
“Our exhibitors will profit from the new markets we open up for them. At the same time, we will strengthen the bonds of customer loyalty. And further increase the degree of internationality in Essen by making the tires better known outside Germany,” says Oliver P. Kuhrt, Chairman of the Management Board of Messe Essen. 
Automotive Industries (AI) asked Detlef Braun, Member of the Automechanika Executive Board, why the company had chosen Chicago as a venue for Automechanika. 
Braun: Chicago is an ideal location for the venture because it is so far an untapped niche. Chicago is centrally located in the U.S. and easily accessible for drive-in attendees and air travel. We are excited about our partnership with Advanstar. Our combined experience in launching successful events only strengthens our ability to service this untapped niche within the automotive aftermarket industry. 
AI: What does the cooperation agreement between Reifen Messe and Automechanika mean for exhibitors and visitors? 
Braun: In the series of our 14 Automechanika fairs, there are a few which are already strongly set up in the field of tires, for example Automechanika Dubai, Johannesburg, Moscow and Istanbul. With Reifen Essen, we have found an appropriate partner to expand this part of the portfolio for the visitors of our Automechanika fairs worldwide. With their cooperation we want to exploit synergetic effects in sales and marketing across borders, order to provide attractive package solutions for exhibitors. After Reifen 2016, Messe Essen and Messe Frankfurt will therefore interlink their two premier global fairs closely with each other.
AI: Why the emphasis on training at Automechanika Frankfurt? 
Braun: Our paintwork and body shop courses held in 2012 were very popular, so we extended the offer. This year we organized courses in English as well. We have registrations from Norway, Ireland, Ghana, and Lithuania. We want to contribute our part as a fair organizer to help young people through an extensive range of basic and advanced training courses at the fair. The feedback we get from our sponsors of the industry has been good and this September four more players from the industry are supporting the training. One is Bosch. 
AI asked Michael Johannes, Automechanika Brand Manager, what is happening in the US car parc that has prompted the introduction of the 15th Automechanika. 
Johannes: The U.S. automotive aftermarket has maintained steady growth of more than 3.4% annually, fueled by an aging vehicle population where the average vehice age is 11.4 years. These trends, along with an explosion of new technology, means technicians must keep pace. Automechanika Chicago will be THE venue for shop-level training in North America. The show’s shop-friendly environment will allow visitors, from technicians to shop owners, to really get a feel for the new product offerings through the various demonstrations, management seminars and technical training sessions. With the number and diversity of product categories exhibiting at this one event attendees can see the latest advancements in a very costeffective anner.
AI: Do the latest changes signal a shift in focus from the aftermarket for Automechanika?
Johannes: Automechanika is the world’s leading trade fair brand for the automotive industry and education and training has always been among the topics that were touched during Automechanika Fairs. Some Fairs do it more along the Automechanika Academy program. Others do it in the form of workshops. Each Automechanika is its own little metropolis of mobility and represents an innovation driver, trend barometer and intercultural meeting place for the international technology and design world. 
AI: Are there more additions to the Automechanika toolbox in the works? 
Johannes: We are always working on new topics as long as they important for our customers. “Truck Competence” is a good example: here we highlight the portfolio of products our exhibitors show in the commercial vehicle sector. There’s a lot more transparency for our visitors now. This year about 1,000 exhibitors will brand their booth with our new “Truck Competence” logo 
Focus on training at Automechanika Frankfurt 
Automechanika Frankfurt is committed to helping young people. This year, there will be an extensive program of basic and advanced training sessions focusing on collisiondamage repair. 
Free workshops on 11 subjects in the field of collision-damage repair have been arranged for the 2014 Automechanika Frankfurt. 
Peter Börner, President of the German Federation of Body and Automotive Engineering (Zentralverband Karosserieund Fahrzeugtechnik e.V. – ZKF), says: “Automechanika Frankfurt offers a wide range of outstanding workshops. And, this year, they are being held in English as well. We welcome and support the commitment of Messe Frankfurt because the subject of basic and advanced training is very important for our sector.” 
Lasting three hours each, the workshops will offer initial insights into the various specialist fields. The program is for everyone involved in collision repair – from trainees and students to instructors and those already working in the industry. The motto is “get to work on the car”. Accordingly, the emphasis at September’s fair will be on practical aspects with visitors having the chance to hammer form a car body, as well as to try their hand at spray-painting, welding or panel beating. Training will take place in the Galleria, a big glass building between Halls 8 and 9. 
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