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The power of connection: Embracing trade events in the automotive aftermarket

The power of connection: Embracing trade events in the automotive aftermarket

In an industry as dynamic and ever evolving as the automotive aftermarket, staying connected and informed is crucial. Mark Field, chief executive of the Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation (IAAF), is emphasising the importance of trade events like the upcoming UK Garage & Bodyshop Event 2024 (5th – 6th June). These gatherings not only focus on community and collaboration but also drive the industry forward in times of rapid change and technological advancement, says Field.

“It’s good to talk! And, for sure, the automotive aftermarket does that better than most. On the eve of the UK Garage & Bodyshop Event 2024, it’s important to recognise that the industry is on a journey, one of discovery and trade events are playing a major part.

“The life of a small business owner can be lonely, and that state of isolation can leave us unwilling to venture out, to try new things. Therefore, the meeting of others at trade events, a community of likeminded people that share the same challenges and opportunities on a daily basis, has perhaps never been as important to our working lives.

“Indeed, the renaissance of aftermarket trade events began when Automechanika Birmingham hit the shores in 2016, but ironically it has been since the coronavirus pandemic that the industry has found its voice, and also its feet.

“Garages, motor factors, bodyshops and suppliers are all more vocal than ever before; communities and partnerships are being forged and the level of debate is greater than it’s ever been. 

“The UK automotive aftermarket and mobility services sector stand as pillars within the wider automotive industry, providing indispensable repair, maintenance, and replacement parts or services that ensure the safety, reliability and sustainability of the UK’s vehicle parc and provide competitive choices to vehicle owners and operators for the service and repair of their vehicles.

“This sector supports over half a million jobs, generating some £20bn to the UK economy and providing over 75 percent of the vehicle repair volume in independent workshops, predominantly within SMEs, and serving as a catalyst for economic activity and social mobility.

“As the automotive landscape undergoes profound transformations, embracing sustainability initiatives and adapting to emerging technologies, future challenges and opportunities are presented to us all.

“The rise of electrification, software-defined vehicles, and remote access to vehicle generated data and information heralds a new era of mobility, demanding innovative solutions and new business models.

“This now equates to a reframe of the automotive industry; garages are now ‘businesses first’ and leading the professionalism in both how we attract new people into the trade and how we conduct ourselves further up the supply chain.

“The critical role of the UK’s independent aftermarket sector is recognised as one of the largest and most diverse in Europe. Trade events like UK Garage & Bodyshop Event are the ultimate celebration of our achievements as an industry and everyone should feel proud to be part of it.”

Visitors can register for a free ticket here – there are limited complimentary tickets remaining for the event, which is set to return for its second edition at the NEC in Birmingham on 5th and 6th June 2024.

Manufacturing & Engineering Magazine | The Home of Manufacturing Industry News

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