ORLAND PARK, Ill. Show organizers for the Automotive Aftermarket Products Expo (AAPEX) have reported that the 2012 event ended on a high note, with an increase in the number of exhibitors and exhibits at this year's event. AAPEX was held Oct. 30 through Nov. 1, at the Sands Expo Center in Las Vegas.
The 20th anniversary event opened with a performance by the Foothill High School Drum Line of Henderson, Nev. The performance was followed by an "Orange Crush" of members of the Automotive Warehouse Distributors Association (AWDA) wearing bright orange shirts with the AWDA logo, as well as the logo of the program group or distributor organization to which they belong.
The show floor featured 660 first-time exhibitors, and a total of 2,309 exhibitors, up from 2,292 in 2011. Exhibitors occupied 5,054 booths, compared to 4,984 last year. The number of verified buyers at Automotive Aftermarket Industry Week (AAIW), which includes AAPEX and the SEMA Show, reached 60,000, up slightly from 59,700 the previous year. Pre-registered buyer numbers exceeded 64,000, down 2.7 percent over 2011. International buyers traveled from more than 130 countries to attend Industry Week.
In addition, the AAPEX Learning Forum offered an extra day of education in 2012 to better accommodate attendees’ schedules. A total of 32 sessions were presented on a range of topics including sales, marketing, branding, warehouse distributor management, industry trends, employee productivity, technology and service readiness. Attendees gave high marks to sessions and speakers, specifically the content of the sessions and being able to apply what they learned when they returned to their businesses.
Other highlights of AAPEX 2012 include the addition of six eateries on the show floor, styled to look like classic streetside food trucks, a new 8,000 square-foot Remanufacturing Section, which sold out of exhibit space, and the popular renamed Product Showcase, in which 4,600 votes were cast by pre-registered buyers to determine the winning entries. The number of votes cast in 2012 represents an increase of approximately 28 percent over 2011 voting numbers.
The 2013 AAPEX will take place Tuesday, Nov. 5 through Thursday, Nov. 7, at the Sands Expo Center in Las Vegas.