The brand new Futuroad Expo will make its global debut in South Africa in September next year. CHARLEEN CLARKE finds out what it’s all about
South Africa has been without a commercial vehicle show for some years now ... but, thanks to the advent of Futuroad, that situation is about to change!
Next year (September 27 to 30, at the Johannesburg Expo Centre, Nasrec, to be precise) will see the global launch of a new brand within the Messe Frankfurt stable. It’s called Futuroad and the brand will also be rolled out to other countries over time.
Futuroad will run alongside two other Messe Frankfurt exhibitions: the extremely well-known Automechanika and another new brand, Scalex. Futuroad Expo is Africa’s international commercial vehicle show. Scalex Johannesburg is South Africa’s leading trade fair for transport systems, infrastructure and logistics solutions.
Automechanika doesn’t really need any introduction; however, it is the world-renowned trade fair for the automotive aftermarket. We’ve already hosted five Automechanika shows in South Africa; it is one of 15 such fairs in the world.
All the shows will be organised by SA Shows Messe Frankfurt, a wholly owned subsidiary of Messe Frankfurt Exhibitions of Germany. The local subsidiary, based in Woodmead, Johannesburg, is headed up by CEO Konstantin von Vieregge.
He has enjoyed a long and illustrious career in the motor industry (most recently Von Vieregge was general manager for product planning and product marketing at Nissan South Africa), and he’s convinced that the timing for the new shows is spot-on right.
“I’m a very strong believer that the economy moves in cycles; it’s happened for centuries; what goes down must eventually come up. The most important thing is that when the economy is shrinking, companies should not retract completely. Otherwise, when the growth does come, you will be the last to pick up. We believe we have passed the bottom of the cycle – so the time to invest is now!” he tells FOCUS.
Show director Philip Otto concurs. “We believe that the economy will improve significantly by the second half of next year. This is reflected in the stand bookings that we already hold for the show,” he reveals.
Futuroad will take place in Hall 6 (the largest hall within the showgrounds) and the organisers believe that virtually all the major vehicle manufacturers will be there (there are just a few more major players still to sign up).
Scalex will take place in Hall 6, too, overflowing to Hall 7. Otto reports: “The stand bookings are looking really good, even though we are close to a year away from the show happening!”
While Hall 6 is devoted to trucking companies, there are a number of these companies in the Automechanika halls, too ... so the entire event will have a distinctly trucking feel to it.
Otto believes that the three-exhibition affair will be exceptionally successful. “There are definitely synergies between the three shows. Scalex, for instance, is an obvious match to Futuroad, because the end users of the trucks will be there. We introduced this event on request from the vehicle manufacturers, and following an extensive research programme in which we visited all the major fleet operators to propose Scalex – and got overwhelming support for the concept,” he reports.
Von Vieregge agrees. “We have done our homework and, very importantly, we have the support of the entire Messe Frankfurt. This is very significant! Organising a trade fair isn’t rocket science; it’s a relatively simple affair. To build a show that is sustainable, though, requires much more.
“Messe Frankfurt brings two things to the table: we know the value of the brand and we have a global footprint. We do proper brand management, so it’s sustainable going forward – and we bring the right visitors to the shows,” he points out.
As such, a road show is planned into Africa to entice visitors from the continent to visit the three shows. “We have the resources to bring visitors from Africa; as such, we expect a significant jump in visitors from outside South Africa,” concludes Von Vieregge.
The message is clear: Futuroad, Scalex and Automechanika won’t only rock South Africa; they are going to rock our continent (especially sub-Saharan Africa) too!