NCR CRE 22
Published on April 14th 2022 in

The 2022 Collision Repair Expo

Following a three-year hiatus, the Australian Automotive Aftermarket Association (AAAA) hosted the 2022 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 7th to Saturday 9th April.

AAAA CEO Stuart Charity and Senator Deborah O’Neill, cut the ribbon and officially declared both Expos open. Charity declared that it was great to be back and that he was looking forward to the biggest industry event since 2019.

Some of the changes at this year’s Expo were that all seminars were held on the show floor, and the AAAA introduced its Workshop of the Future Pavilion, which debuted a range of fantastic new initiatives and features. In addition, through a targeted marketing program, high-school students were invited to attend the Expos on the Saturday to introduce them to the exciting high-technology world of automotive.

The event was an integrated trade show, live demonstrations and a series of thought-provoking seminars that ran seamlessly, including an evening session on the Friday.

The Collision Repair Expo continues to evolve, and the heavy hitters of the industry were out in force in 2022, many of them increasing their presence for this year’s event. Led by major sponsor, the SAPE Group – who unveiled their biggest exhibit ever – Paul McMartin, Director, SAPE said: “We were thrilled yet again to take the leading position at the Expo as we grow and develop with the dynamic and evolving industry.”

Once again Mark Williams’ 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, with all demonstrations being live-streamed onto the big screen – Mark and his team once again did an exceptional job.

Concurrent with the Expos, the Australian Auto Aftermarket Excellence Awards returned in spectacular fashion at the aftermarket industry’s night of nights to recognise excellence and celebrate the industry. Stuart Charity said: “I am so incredibly proud of the resilience of our industry to achieve success through unprecedented times including the pandemic and recent floods. To see so many individuals and companies awarded for their manufacturing, marketing success and industry contributions with these coveted awards was a sight to behold. I’d like to congratulate all of the award winners, particularly our two Hall of Fame inductees, David Fraser, Group CEO Capricorn Society, and Anthony Kittel, Managing Director of REDARC for their distinguished and successful careers in the industry.”

Melbourne was buzzing as the Formula 1 Grand Prix was also being held on the same weekend, and the exhibitors wanted to make a statement that they were back bigger and better than ever and that was clearly the case. However, it has yet to be seen how the Grand Prix impacted the numbers at the Expo as the final attendance figures had yet to be released. Anecdotally, the message from the show floor was mixed, but let’s wait and see.

From our perspective, the CRE was a great opportunity to reconnect with the industry, our current clients, some of our former colleagues and of course old friends in an atmosphere where competitive tension was left at the door, and everyone was there for the greater good of the industry.

We will have the full report – with lots of pics – in the upcoming May issue of the National Collision Repairer.

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