More than 25 percent of the more than 100,000 visitors to Autopromotec 2017 here in Bologna, Italy, have come from abroad for the biennial show, organizers say. Show organizers report that 1,651 companies from 53 countries are exhibiting at this year’s show, its 27th, which takes place at the sprawling Bologna Fiere grounds over 16 buildings and four outdoor exhibition areas. There is a total of 158,000 square meters of exhibiting space. Show organizers say there are 10 percent more exhibitors this year over the 2015 show.
Renzo Servadei, the show’s managing director, said despite technology that allows for someone to be “virtually” anywhere, being physically present at a show has never been more vital. “The web has the power to greatly speed up communication, replace the paper brochure with a digital presentation, but cannot replace the wealth of relationships that Autopromotec represents and offers,” Servadei said. “You come to Bologna to present and learn about the most innovative products but also to do business, something that is absolutely central here.”
This year, Autopromotec is presents “Officina 4.0: Proof of Concept,” a virtual preview of tomorrow’s repair shop, illustrating what it believes will be future technologies and how the role of professional technicians may change, including the proliferation of the Internet of Things and the emergence of self-driving cars and trucks. IoT is particularly interesting to the aftermarket, because vehicles could report diagnostic data directly to a repair shop which can then order parts and schedule a repair time, as soon as the vehicle exhibits a problem.
Exhibitors are grouped by product area with more than 550 categories covering all areas of the aftermarket, including new or reconstructed tires, rims, tools, hard parts, diagnotic equipment, car wash solutions and car care, from body work products and tools to some ag equipment.
Security at the Bologna airport and throughout the city seemed tight, largely due to the G7 meetings taking place throughout the country this week and a visit by President Trump. But it didn’t seem to dampen the spirits of show visitors or exhibitors.
The show continues through Sunday.