Unique in Concept
By TA News Bureau:
The Tire Cologne is bringing global tyre and wheels industry’s future to present and will celebrate its premier in May 2018 with industry leaders lining up in full array. Gerald Böse, CEO, Koelnmesse, and Stephan Helm, Chairman, Federation of Tire Trading, Retreading and Automotive Service Business (BRV), elaborate on how different the event will be from other trade fairs
How did The Tire Cologne originate, and what can the industry expect? Why a tyre trade fair now in Cologne?
Gerald Böse: With The Tire Cologne, a new trade fair for tyres and wheels will celebrate its premiere at Koelnmesse in May 2018. This is a project that we have been intensively preparing for nearly three years now, because new trade fairs or trade fair themes can’t simply be developed on the side. It is our business to be permanently active, with a fine sense for changes, trends and new themes, and to seek out chances. Here I would like to name DMEXCO, the trade fair for digital marketing, which has developed further at record speed. At the same time, one has to make continuous conceptual adjustments to already established events – Anuga or the IMM Cologne have been the leading global trade fairs in their industries for decades. This is only possible with the continuous adaptation and expansion of concepts.
The classic exhibition, that’s all in the past now. Trade fairs today are events that of course still convince through the quality and the depth of the offering, as well as with perfect basic conditions for the successful business development of customers. At the same time, they make the values, trends and themes that move the respective industry experienceable. Modern trade fairs are a mix of business and emotional events that create additional points of attraction, provide impulses and move markets. This is also what our key accounts expect, as we just heard. These attributes were missing from the respective tyre trade fairs of the past, in our opinion, but also in the perspective of the industry. The Tire Cologne is both, a business trade fair and an event trade fair, with attractive show acts and event programmes, including in the outdoor space of Koelnmesse. We have formulated perspectives on what a future orientation needs to look like, and what growth potential exists. TTC will provide a reflection of the industry at all levels that corresponds exactly to the needs of the market and underlines the future orientation in the tire specialist trade: this of course includes the tire industry and the tire trade, including related segments like rims, retreading, the wholesale trade, but also additional services in the tire workshop, whether these involve brakes, light, engine settings or shock absorbers.
What is the USP of The Tire Cologne on both sides – exhibitors and visitores?
Gerald Böse: The Tire Cologne will provide a reflection of the industry at all levels that corresponds exactly to the needs of the market and underlines the future orientation in the specialist tyre trade: this of course includes the tyre industry and the tyre trade, including related segments like rims, remoulding, the wholesale trade, but also additional services in the tyre workshop, whether these involve brakes, lights, engine settings or shock absorbers.
As a leading tyre fair, the TTC addresses first of all the national and international wholesale and retail tyre trade, of course. We also want to activate other visitor potentials in the segments online commerce and automotive workshops, as well as automotive dealerships or contract partners. We also want to generate new visitor target groups from the areas of fleet management and recycling.
The BRV supports the TTC decisively as an industry sponsor. What do you expect from the “new industry platform” in Cologne?
Stefan Helm: On both the manufacturer and distributor sides, the tyre industry is characterised by a high level of innovation and offers the potential to position itself with an even stronger international alignment. Koelnmesse stands for modernity, a growth orientation and internationality, and has proven that the location is ideal for ambitious industries. It also presents itself again and again as a trailblazer for the most diverse industries, and as a growth factor for trade fairs relocating to Cologne from other venues in Germany. There are good reasons for this:
The Cologne fair grounds are the fifth largest in the world, and offer modern halls, flexible infrastructure and a highly professional trade fair team.
The new location is also an automobile and motorised city of the first order. Ford is the largest employer of the city, and many other automobile manufacturers and importers have their German head offices in the region: Toyota, Volvo, Mazda, Citroën, Renault. The Deutz AG still stands for engine construction, and the Lanxess Group for innovative materials. The economy in proximity with tires is thus comprehensively present in Cologne and the vicinity.
This is complemented by a hotel and food service environment that has been tried and tested by many major fairs, and an attractive metropolis.
The transport connections are perfect: Cologne is located at the centre of the European motorway and rail networks, an ICE train station is located directly on the fair grounds, and the international airport Cologne/Bonn is only 15 minutes away by car.
All of these facts have convinced us that Koelnmesse offers an ideal environment for the leading global trade fair of our forward-looking industry, the high-tech products and intelligent services of which make a critical contribution to ensuring that society remains mobile.
Question: TTC is booking halls 6, 7, 8 and 9 with Entrance North of the Cologne fair grounds – how should we now imagine the TTC in concrete terms, Mr Böse?
Gerald Böse: The Tire Cologne will fill the entire northern grounds of Koelnmesse. The tyre manufacturers, wholesalers and rim manufacturers will present themselves in halls 6, 7 and 8. Trade visitors will find the global offering around the topics of tyres and wheels here at a glance. The themes of automotive services and workshop needs will also be concentrated in hall 8. The tyre trade and the workshops that want to offer services involving tires and the automobile in a targeted fashion wish to see innovations and offerings for these workshop services and related automotive services in a bundled form – from the car to utility vehicles. In hall 9, the tyre retreading and old tyre recycling and disposal segments are presented, which at the same time also address new visitor target groups. The hall is clearly structured and simplifies visit planning for trade visitors. And even more importantly: almost 95 per cent of the planned hall area is already booked. We expect a total of around 600 exhibiting companies from 40 countries, and the 20 companies of the current “tyre world ranking list” in terms of sales will be in Cologne, in some cases with larger presentation areas! These are joined by many other providers, and of course the important tire wholesalers and rim manufacturers. The fact is, in the segment for tyres and wheels, we are today already clearly better and more internationally positioned than was previously the case for any other international tyre trade fair! However, we are not only very successful in the tyre and wheel segment; the fields of automotive services and workshop needs, as well as tyre retreading and old tyre recycling are also excellently positioned.
The theme of digitalisation is explicitly addressed in the statements and is a very important matter for Koelnmesse. What does that mean for TTC?
Gerald Böse: An important theme we are emphasising for TTC in a targeted fashion is “digitalisation”. Digitalisation affects us all and is causing a dramatic change in all areas of life. The digital transformation opens up big chances for more quality of life, new business models and more efficient business economy. In the framework of the Digital Strategy, Koelnmesse deals with all aspects of digitalisation that are or might become relevant for the company and the trade fair business. And digitalisation has also long since arrived in the tire industry. What digitalisation already means today for all participants of the tire industry, and how it can be used for your business is shown by the Digital Reality special area in numerous facets: from Internet-based commerce through data management in the networked workshop and driving assistance systems to the exciting possibilities of digital sales support. Renowned experts from around the world will present best cases here and bring exclusive insights and valuable know-how with them to Cologne. The panels will be available via live stream in the Internet and can thus be followed everywhere.
With regard to new target groups, do you want to increasingly address, for example, fleet managers?
Gerald Böse: The addressing and engagement of new visitor target groups is also at the very top of our “to-do list”. This means that fleet and motor pool managers have a great interest in constantly optimising their motor pools. With this in mind, the tire will in future continue to increase in importance. Costs are a theme here. Downtimes need to be minimised when changing. The least possible roll resistance (and thus wear) should be harmonised with the greatest possible safety. That applies to truck fleets, for example, of forwarding businesses, just as much as for fleets of passenger vehicles, for example, in the company motor pool, in the in some cases gigantic vehicle rental and leasing fleets, or for car sharing. The right advice here is very important. Which is why we are designing a separate meeting point at TTC together with the ETM Verlag (publishing house), especially for fleet and motor pool managers: the TIRE Fleet Lounge – a forum oriented to the needs of fleet managers, with interesting lectures, discussion panels and exciting networking opportunities. Here is where technical know-how, expert tips and trends are offered, and thus real added value for business with an international networking character. The complete package also includes a special area in which seminars for mounting utility vehicle tires will take place. Professional instructors will carry out the optimal procedures for changing tires on utility vehicles together with all interested parties.
As regards the industry in general, how are the markets currently developing – national and international?
Stefan Helm: The tyre business on the whole is composed first of all of original equipment, as well as of the replacement market; we deal with the latter as a retailer and trades association. The tyre manufacturers, meaning the market participants in the OE business, are represented in Germany by the business association of the German rubber industry (WDK).
Our market segment, meaning the tire replacement business between the trade and consumers, is for the most part characterised by stagnation in Germany and most neighbouring European countries. This more or less applies to all product segments, of which the business with so-called consumer tyres, meaning tyres for passenger cars, four-wheel drive vehicles and light trucks, is the largest, followed at some distance by the truck and bus tyre segment. In the consumer segment, around 207 million tyres were sold throughout Europe in the past year, of these around 48 million in Germany. In the truck/bus segment, sales in the replacement market were approx. 10 million in Europe and 3 million in Germany. The other product segments, such as tyres for motorcycles, agricultural and forestry vehicles, as well as vehicles that are used, for example, in the mining of raw materials, are considerably smaller and should be viewed as niches.
When we now focus on the product group with the dominant market share, the mentioned stagnation can principally be explained by the fact that, while numbers of vehicles are experiencing minor growth, the vehicles are being driven less. The mileage of the tires has also increased further in past years thanks to technical developments, so that the need for replacement is not growing in correspondence with the slight increase in numbers of vehicles, but is instead declining.
In stagnating markets, the intensity of competition increases, which the specialised tyre trade is also starting to notice. In the process, the companies are not only competing with one another, but also against other distribution channels active in the tyre replacement business: brand-bound and independent automotive workshops, speciality markets and online platforms. The consequence is that the clear dividing line we as an association have drawn for decades between the specialised tyre trade and the automotive trades is blurring increasingly (in other European countries there has not been nor is there such a clear division). More and more companies are active in both business areas – meaning tyre retail trade/services and automotive service. Because, however, the last named segment is also very much subject to intense competition, the market participants on location face many challenges in remaining fit for the future.
All in all, we are convinced that the industry need not fear for the future on the whole: as long as primary mobility takes place with vehicles, the market for tyres/wheels is secure. Alternative drive types for motorised vehicles have also not changed anything with regard to the fact that our members will continue to have to look after tyres and chassis technology. The requirements for the tyres, and thus also for the know-how of the workshops will of course change. This must be continually adapted to the developments in the automobile market und technology in order to remain ahead of the times. The Tire Cologne will perform a very important task here with regard to knowledge transfer; one which it will fulfil with its concept