The automotive industry will soon be coming together for the world’s largest aftermarket specialist trade fair – Automechanika – which this year will be taking place for the 23rd time. When was the first Automechanika held? How did it all begin? When did MANN+HUMMEL exhibit for the first time, and how have our trade fair stands developed over the years? Curious to know the answers? Then keep reading!
In January 1971 the IAA PKW international motor show was suddenly cancelled by the organisers, the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA). The president of the association argued that the automotive industry needed to make cuts due to high costs – this was the beginning of the oil crisis.
Some two months later, Messe Frankfurt announced that a substitute exhibition was to take place under the name Automechanika. The motivation for this came from the automotive industry associations and from petrol stations and garage companies, who still wanted to exhibit their products.
The first Automechanika took place on 18 September 1971 in Frankfurt and, according to press reports, was very well received. With around 500 exhibitors and over 75,000 visitors from 63 countries, it was a resounding success that was set to be repeated.
Since 1972, the trade fair has taken place every two years, alternating with the IAA. Over the years, Automechanika has become one of the most successful trade fairs for visitors from within the industry and is the world’s largest specialist trade fair for the automotive aftermarket.
The first photos and records of a MANN+HUMMEL trade fair stand at Automechanika date back to 1980. The stand was in what was then Hall 8 and covered an area measuring 50 m². It was built by employees from the advertising department and was furnished with product display cases.
In the mid 1980s MANN+HUMMEL moved to the ground floor of Hall 5. The trade fair stand was painted yellow, with green as the contrasting colour.
At the end of the 1980s the stand was painted white and decorated with tasteful green and yellow stripes.
The stand was soon too small for the large numbers of visitors, and the hunt began for a new stand location. There was no space to be found in Hall 5 as it was fully booked, but the sales departments were determined to stay there as the atmosphere and the other exhibitors suited them well.
As a compromise, the trade fair offered them a second, small stand nearby, with an area of 20 m².
This was a good temporary solution; our two sales departments VE (spare parts sales for Germany) and VX (spare parts sales abroad) divided themselves up and were able to accept this layout for the time being.
In 1992, I made my début at the stand. We were a newly created department with three members; known as Automotive Product Advertising – VZ5 , we were responsible for the Automechanika and IAA trade fairs.
We revised and modernised the stand design, and for the first time commissioned a trade fair constructor, a company called Stark, to build the stand. The photo design was revised too, and large-scale photos were added to the walls as decoration.
The trade fair tagline that year was ‘Experts have the solution’.
The breakthrough came in 1994 when, after a long battle, we were finally given a stand area measuring 200 m² in Hall 6, giving us the space we needed to build our new trade fair stand. In the same year our stand was visited by Matthias Wissmann, at that time the Chairman of the CDU in northern Württemberg.
From 1996 to 2004 our stand was located in Hall 6. Our stand design and constructors changed and each time our stand had a fresh, more stylish appearance.
From 2004 we started holding stand parties with different attractions, such as bringing in a croupier from the Bad Homburg casino, who invited guests to play a game of Blackjack. There was always a large bar too, offering special cocktails and a relaxing area with Feng Shui sounds. In addition, we had a space in a workshop tent in the courtyard for our workshop customers.
We held promotions there, for example a photo shoot with a Marylin Monroe lookalike, a ski simulator and a high striker game.
Everything changed in 2006. After a lot of thought, deliberation and visits to the site, we moved to the newly built Hall 3 – the stand space there was made up of two adjacent spaces, measuring approx. 350 m².
Of course, we needed a whole new design and a new trade fair stand. The MANN-FILTER World Tour and the largest MANN-FILTER box in the world brought a sense of experience and fun to the stand.
We held a trade fair competition, exhibited regional showcases, provided a shoe-shining service, a walk of fame and evening parties with live music, and even hired a charming magician in a white suit, who proved particularly popular with the male visitors. Basketball shoot-outs were also held outside, in front of the hall.
The trade fair stands became more spectacular each year. In 2008 we even had an aquarium with real yellowfin surgeonfish,
and in 2010 a long flow chart with a touchscreen (a large tablet) was added to display information about the products and the company.
Since 2012, the trade fair stand has been produced by Brand Management team within the automotive aftermarket business unit. The tagline in 2012 was ‘Discover more‘. This came with even more attractions, such as a trade fair coffee bar, a stand party with drum café to get the mood going and a VIP breakfast in the trade fair tower.
Each visitor was given an eye-catching green/yellow trolley. A career brunch was also set up for students and a further, smaller trade fair stand was set up in Hall 8 for workshop customers.
We are excited to see what awaits us all this year and are already looking forward to Automechanika 2014.