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Interview with Automechanika Frankfurt director Olaf Mußhoff

Olaf Mußhoff

1. Can you share with MEM an overview of the plans at Automechanika for EVA (stands for Electric Vehicle Expo at Automechanika)?

Olaf Mußhoff: 

The Electric Vehicle Expo at Automechanika (EVA for short) is taking place for the first time at the trade fair and is being launched by the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, Automotive Sub-council (CCPIT). Over a dozen Chinese manufacturers will be showcasing their e-vehicles in Hall 12.1 and would like to meet new international business partners for repair, maintenance and service. These include companies such as BYD, SMART, GEELY Group, AVATR, JIYUE, SERES, Chang An, HONGQI and GAC International. However, the topic of electromobility will play a central role throughout the entire exhibition grounds. More companies than ever before will be presenting products and solutions in this field, also brands like Genesis (Festhalle) and VW (electric fleet on the Agora). In our online exhibitor search, over 500 companies are currently listing the special interest “Electric Vehicle Competence”.

2. The Automechanika Innovation Awards are of key interest to MEM and in particular the Green awards, can you highlight some examples of nominees?

Olaf Mußhoff: With more than 150 applications for the Innovation Awards I’m very happy to announce that we have a record participation this year. The awards are presented in nine different categories, such as Data & Connectivity, Body & Paint, Workshop & Service Solutions. This year we have included two new categories, E-Mobility & Innovative Drive Technologies and AI & Digitalisation, which were very well received by the companies. The submissions simply show how important new technological developments are for the automotive industry in order to meet challenges such as climate change, digitalisation and AI. We also present a Green Award for a particularly sustainable product. As the jury will only meet in mid-July to decide which products will be shortlisted, i.e. nominated, I can’t give you examples of nominees yet. What I can tell you, however, is which companies are taking part this year: With Carwood and VGP Systems UK Limited there are also two companies from the UK among the participants. But also companies such as AVL DiTest, BASF, Bosch, Continental, Hunter, Knorr-Bremse, Maha, Mahle, Osram, Schaeffler, Texa and ZF applied for the competition.   

3. What are the other new innovations for Automechanika in Frankfurt for 2024?

Olaf Mußhoff: There’s a whole lot – where do I start? For example, we have significantly expanded our training and lecture programmes and extended our networking formats. That’s absolutely necessary due to the rapid pace of change in the automotive industry. We are offering all participants the opportunity to update their knowledge, discuss with experts and network with automotive professionals from all over the world on a total of five stages, each located in the thematically related halls. For the first time there will be a special Sustainability Court with an exhibition area, stage and networking lounge, which aims to promote dialogue between the various players. And then there is the Innovation4Mobility high-quality expert forum with multiple showcases featuring topics like vehicle-integrated photovoltaics, vehicle-to-grid, sustainable fuels, automotive applications for hydrogen, and software-defined vehicles. The “Future Mobility Park” in the Agora will be an open-air experience with many different attractions, including a central event stage and a test circuit where you can experience tomorrow’s mobility solutions live and in person. For the first time, there will also be a stage programme in Hall 8, starting on 10 September with current trend topics in the field of repair & maintenance. The Body & Paint stage in Hall 11.1 is the central point of contact for those who want to find out about future topics in collision repair & management. In Hall 12.0, everything revolves around car wash, care and detailing as well as oil, lubricants and fuels. 

4. How big is the show this year in terms of size and expected numbers of visitors and exhibitors?

Olaf Mußhoff: For this year’s Automechanika Frankfurt we expect more international exhibitors than at the last show in 2022, the figure will be closer to the 2018 edition. Numerous international companies that were unable to participate then have already registered and will be back this year. We are looking forward to welcoming more than 4,200 exhibitors from around 80 countries in Frankfurt in September. In terms of space, around 150,000 square metres are currently booked. The figures speak for themselves – I am delighted that Automechanika has been able to maintain its position as the leading international industry meeting place.

5. You have many zones within Automechanika including a new ‘Gaming’ area. Why did you add this to the event for 2024?

Olaf Mußhoff: As you know the automotive industry has some problems recruiting the next generation. That’s why the idea of “Ambition” was born: Our aim is to inspire young talents for the automotive industry – at Automechanika you can experience live all jobs that are out there in this sector. With “Ambition” we’ve created an interactive space dedicated for the Generation Z in Hall 3.1 with games, sports and lifestyle areas, food zones and its own club stage. There the industry is shaping up and showing the next generation just how exciting and diverse the automotive aftermarket and its professions can be.

6. Talents4AA is a particularly exciting initiative, can you share with MEM a little more about this brilliant idea?

Olaf Mußhoff: 

Talents4AA is an important initiative of the automotive aftermarket, which we have been supporting as a member since 2022. The initiative brings together all key players in the industry to jointly create visibility of the automotive aftermarket as an employment market and to recruit young talents for the aftermarket. At Automechanika, Talents4AA will have its own stand in the foyer of Hall 4.1, is planning a breakfast as an exchange format for its members and is also taking part at “Ambition” in Hall 3.1.

7. What goals/objectives has Messe Frankfurt set itself for the short and long term for Automechanika this year in Frankfurt?

Olaf Mußhoff: 

The automotive industry is changing and we are supporting the industry in this transformation. We not only offer our customers a neutral platform where they can discuss various new technologies. With lectures, panels, live presentations and workshops we have a huge range of training opportunities in store but this year also a lot of entertainment – with a daily happy hour and live music for everybody on the Agora, the central outside area of the fairground. Our big goal is for customers to leave the exhibition grounds on 14 September having made new and inspiring business contacts, feeling well informed about the trends in the industry and ultimately having had a great time with us in Frankfurt. 

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