The Australian Automotive Aftermarket Association (AAAA) hosted 2019 Australian Auto Aftermarket Expo in conjunction with the SAPE Group-sponsored Collision Repair Expo. The three-day biennial event was held at the Melbourne Convention and Entertainment Centre between Thursday 4th to Saturday 6th April.
At 10:00am on Thursday, AAAA President Graham Scudamore-Smith and Victorian Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events the Hon. Martin Pakula cut the ribbon and officially declared both Expos open. AAAA CEO Stuart Charity said: We are expecting record crowds to what has truly become an international event.”
The event was an integrated trade show, live demonstrations, a series of thought-provoking seminars and awards ceremonies that ran seamlessly, including an evening session on the Friday. The trade show ran continuously and was punctuated by international and local key note speakers and a variety of panel discussions, three of which I had the pleasure to be facilitate.
The big change at this years Expo was the quantum leap in technology across our industry in the past 2 years, led unquestionably by our industry partner, Tradiebot Industries. Their cutting-edge demonstrations of robotic 3D printing, artificial intelligence software tools and the introduction of WORXAR – Augmented Reality for Automotive Applications were an overwhelming success. CEO Mario Dimovski said: “We are developing the workshop of the future using Industry 4.0 technologies. It will provide even more exciting and interesting automotive jobs for the current generation as the technology continues to develop at an accelerating rate.”
The AAAA formally launched its much-anticipated Australian Innovation Centres, one in Melbourne and one in Adelaide, and in launching the initiative, Stuart Charity said: “The automotive aftermarket industry manufactures parts, components and technology worth more than $5 billion each year. We have world leaders in the design and manufacture of specialty products with a technological advantage in areas such as 4WD, high performance and motorsport components. Our businesses have made significant investments in R&D and capital equipment and have a strong export focus. The Innovation Centres will provide invaluable support.”
Once again Lowbake Australia provided a fully functional spray booth that ran across all three days providing coatings and ancillary suppliers the opportunity to demonstrate their latest product innovations. Mark and his team are once again to be congratulated.
As a participant at the Collision Repair Expo since 2011 (in my former lives) the Expo, not unlike the industry is evolving. The brands taking up major positions across the exhibition floor are changing, which in my humble opinion is healthy for the industry. In addition, the international footprint has grown rapidly, perhaps not coincidentally with the cessation of local vehicle manufacturing, supporting Charity’s previous statement about the internationalisation of the event.
In summary, the Expo was a great opportunity to connect with current clients, former colleagues and of course old friends in an atmosphere where the tensions of competition are left at the door and everyone is there in support of, as Charity said, our $5 billion industry.
See the full report – with lots of pics – in the May issue of the National Collision Repairer.