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Rendez Vous (encore!)

In recent weeks we re-attended AutoInform and Highways UK and the European aftermarket sector descended on the Paris Expo exhibition centre in the south west of the French capital for Equip Auto. On a warm, azure-clear day, leading component manufacturers and workshop systems suppliers gathered to exhibit their wares and discuss the state of the industry. Ostensibly a business-to-business event, the aisles were jam-packed with visitors from across the continent, eager to glean news of automotive innovation and market movements.

With uncertainty on the European stage around Brexit, it was heartening to see smaller British companies taking to the road, exhibiting and engaging with European prospects. That sense of ‘entente cordiale’ permeated many of the discussions and booths.

If you’ve not been, do go. It is a fascinating insight into the European aftermarket scene –  brands were investing hugely in their marketing efforts and seemed to be benefitting from the investment, judging by the size of crowds on some of the stands. And, when you go, there is always time for a cathartic French brasserie visit – if you want a tip, head straight to Le Train Bleu, Gare De Lyon. If you’ve not got time, make it!

There have never been more challenges facing the aftermarket than there are today. Modern cars are ever more complex, meaning that independent garages and body shops are facing greater technical challenges when it comes to servicing, maintaining and repairing today’s vehicles.

With challenges, however, come opportunities. The UK automotive aftermarket is thriving, ranking fourth in Europe and ninth in the world in terms of size, and turning over an annual £21.1 billion according to a recent SMMT report. And it is growing: in line with the UK’s increasing car parc, the sector’s value is set to rise to £28 billion by 2022.

It’s not just in the home UK market that there are increasing opportunities but also abroad. Prova witnessed that first hand with the strong attendance at the Auto Equip 2017 event in Paris. In fact, the SMMT report reveals that the UK automotive aftermarket is the eighth largest market globally and the fourth biggest in Europe after Germany, Italy and France. With a healthy growth rate of 3% per annum, the UK is set to overtake France by 2020 to become the third biggest market in Europe.

Given that growth rate and the new opportunities being presented by modern technology fitted to cars, promoting your company’s expertise in this marketplace is key. Get it right and it can drive a host of new business leads and position your business as the go-to company in your field.

To find out more about how Prova can support your event attendance, or steer a path to success in the aftermarket sector, contact Tim Gearey, Director – Automotive at Prova PR.