Q&A published in May/June issue of ERJ
Q&A: Reinventing the tire expo
ERJ interviews Messe Essen CEO Oliver P Kuhrt about the relocation of the Reifen expo to link up with Automechanika in Frankfurt from 2018
After the staging, this May, of Reifen 2016, the biennial tire trade show will move from its established base in Essen to co-locate with the Automechanika automotive aftermarket fair in Frankfurt from 2018. The decision by Reifen organisers Messe Essen avoided a head-on clash, that year, with Tire Cologne – a rival event being launched with the support of the German tire trade association the BRV, a long-time backer of Reifen.
ERJ asked Messe Essen CEO Oliver P Kuhrt about the background to these developments and the future direction of the Reifen show:
ERJ: When did you decide that Reifen would not be held at Messe Essen in 2018?
Kuhrt: The idea has existed at Messe Essen and Messe Frankfurt for quite a long time already because the thematic closeness between Automechanika and Reifen is simply too distinct. The actual decision has then matured step-by-step since the announcement of our cooperation with Automechanika on the occasion of the past Reifen 2014.
ERJ: What were the reasons for this decision?
Kuhrt: With the move to Automechanika in Frankfurt, we are fulfilling the wishes of our customers: The subject of car service is becoming ever more significant in the tire sector. Conversely, tires are becoming ever more important in the motor vehicle sector.
Therefore, the obvious thing to do was to have Reifen and Automechanika take place in parallel in the same place. A large number of manufacturers and associations are also confirming that to us. We are bringing the tire and wheel rim industries as well as the tire trade together with the automotive aftermarket. The advantages for exhibitors and visitors are evident: a wider available range, new target groups and additional sales fields.
ERJ: It seems that Messe Essen tried to compete head-on against Tire Cologne, even though the BRV had decided to support/launch this rival event? What was Messe Essen’s strategy here?
Kuhrt: Our strategy is to offer the best possible show platform to the sector after 2016, too, and we will manage to do that together with Automechanika in Frankfurt. This step is being taken irrespective of any possible rival event in Cologne that, as a field trial, is of national relevance at best.
Kuhrt: As until now, we are addressing the entire tire industry as exhibitors. These also include the major tire makers that have already signed up in Cologne. And after the initial feedback, we are optimistic about enticing one or other manufacturer away from Cologne.
Because the companies have signed up there at a point in time when it was not yet definite that Reifen and Automechanika would take place in parallel in 2018.
Now, the cards are being reshuffled.
For the tire makers, there is no longer any reason to exhibit in Cologne. On the contrary: All the national and international companies that want to use the additional synergetic effects of a premier global show like Automechanika for themselves will be grateful to be able to ‘kill two birds with one stone’ in Frankfurt from 2018.
ERJ: What are your expectations for Reifen alongside Automechanika at Messe Frankfurt in 2018?
Kuhrt: I am expecting two premier global shows in one place that will harmonise ideally, complement each other and become the most important date of the year in the sector.
Reifen and Automechanika will supply valuable stimuli for the tire sector and the automotive aftermarket, particularly as far as the development of new revenue models and business fields is concerned. We are bringing together not only two shows but also sectors, markets, and people. There has not yet been anything comparable in this form.
ERJ: What stage are you at now and what is your strategy to develop the Reifen expo going forward?
Kuhrt: First of all, we are happy to now move into the implementation phase with the new concept of “Reifen Parallel to Automechanika”. The prerequisites are more than favourable: On the occasion of the current Reifen 2016, we are registering a new record number of exhibitors, and the sector’s trust in the Reifen brand is stronger than ever.
At the same time, a lot of people are becoming increasingly aware that, with the new closeness between Reifen and Automechanika, the model of the isolated tire show will become outdated in the long term. The sector must find new revenue structures and open up the automotive aftermarket for this purpose. A pure tire show will no longer help anybody in future.
ERJ: How will that work out in practice for exhibitors and attendees in 2018?
Kuhrt: In Frankfurt am Main, we will continue to appear as a strong independent brand and event. Only the environment will change and will become considerably more attractive due to Automechanika.
Of course, we will turn one or other setscrew together with Messe Frankfurt beyond 2018, too. One absolutely exciting subject is, for example, the advancing digitisation of shows.
Even now, we are already making our exhibitors and visitors attractive offers in order to extend the show experience digitally.
Nevertheless, we see even further room to manoeuver here in the medium term. In this respect, emphasis will always be placed on the show success of our customers – no matter whether in Frankfurt, worldwide or on the data highway.
ERJ: Many thanks Mr Kuhrt for your replies.