5 MINUTES WITH Mario Fiems, EA ’09



3Mario FiemsMario Fiems, the director of Equip Auto, tells catmag.co.uk why the Paris trade show will help to shape tomorrow’s independent aftermarket


You have said that 2009 is a critical year in the reshaping of the old automotive industry. Can you explain why?

 To answer this question, I think you need firstly to look back at the history of the automotive industry.

Overall, in the last century growth in our industry has been constant. Why? Because people have to get about. Mobility is an essential part of life across the world – and always will be.

This year is crucial on a number of fronts – but especially when it comes to the economic situation and the rise of new technologies surrounding ‘greener’ cars.

Companies should now be preparing to regain, hold or grow their positions in their respective markets. But crucially, they may not be able to do that using the same old products or methods.

The economic crisis has bred several phenomena. Specifically, we are seeing the emergence of low-cost and eco-friendly motoring, along with and including the rapid development of the electric and hybridised car.

This will affect the industry in its entirety, from the manufacture and launch of a car through to its maintenance in the aftermarket.

This is an important year because businesses not moving with the times will find it hard to become competitive again.


How can Equip Auto help to facilitate economic recovery in the aftermarket?

The industry has to adapt and seize new opportunities. Now is the time to invest to see growth when we move out of recession – while the crisis is not over yet, it is becoming clear that growth is on the horizon.

Equip Auto 2009 is dedicated to getting the industry back on course. We will play our part in helping companies get through and beat the recession.

Equip Auto will be running an extensive programme of events and conferences to enable each professional in the aftermarket to help grow his or her business.

Themes include ‘Tomorrow’s Garage’. We will examine what it might look like, with an emphasis placed on electric and hybrid cars, reusable parts and how garages can and will adapt to suit a new and growing market.

Additionally, we’ll be publishing a ‘Promotion Offers Book’, which will be available on the website before the opening of the exhibition.

It will enable visitors see the benefits that will be available and help them prepare their visit more effectively and clearly identify good business opportunities.

Over 200 new products will be launched at EA 2009. The economic crisis hasn’t stopped manufacturers from innovating. In fact, the opposite is true. There will be plenty of new ideas on show that could increase business for visitors.

Exhibitors will be proposing concrete solutions to soften the effect of the economic situation to both current and prospective clients.


This year you have opened up the show to include the agricultural and two-wheel sectors. Can you explain why?

Simple really: we want to present a new dimension to the Show by becoming the international equipment exhibition for all types of vehicle.

Visitors will discover a range of products and services that are dedicated specifically to equipment and repairs. This will include construction machinery, heavy goods vehicles, farm, motorbikes, cars – everything, in fact.

It will be possible to discover new parts and tools that will enable repair of every sort of vehicle you can imagine. This should heighten the chances visitors will have of discovering true technical innovations.

This decision is backed by research made after 2007 show. 71 percent of suppliers and 58 percent of visitors said they were interested in seeing the exhibition open its doors to these new product ranges.

People want to see more equipment dedicated to repair, so we have been strongly trying to achieve that for the 2009 show.

And yes, we think there are potential untapped opportunities for UK visitors, especially in customised vehicle accessories.


Talking of car accessories, can you tell us more about your new partnership with the performance and styling show?

We have, in partnership with the PTS Fair, used their database to help expand the performance and styling part of Equip Auto.

There will definitely be good opportunities for UK garages and retailers in this area, with new potential product lines that could improve businesses’ turnover.

Companies interested in this area should visit Hall 5 where there will be over 100 exhibitors, all specialising in accessories, performance and styling.


What new technologies can visitors expect to see showcased and debated at the exhibition?

I hinted at this earlier – I think the key area will be the forums we’re preparing on ‘electro mobility’. These will be held by and with speakers of international fame and expertise in this field.

The aim is simple, for them to pass on their knowledge and views as to where the industry is now and where it is going – and how the industry is likely to be affected by electric vehicles and how it can make the most from them.


Why is this event not to be missed by the UK Aftermarket? How will you convince busy business owners to attend?

The Exhibition is a crucial event for the entire car industry and aftersales parts sector.

The first figures for pre-registration of visitors show tell us that there is a huge interest in Equip Auto from the aftermarket.

Equip Auto is the ideal platform for exchanges of information, business, the gain of knowledge and the ability to move your business forward by learning about where the car industry is going next.

Our survey shows that buyers come to the exhibition intending to invest in new products, new solutions, new parts and new ways to run a business and to diversify.

The range of the technical products and information on offer is massive and of an exceptionally high quality. It places Equip Auto at the forefront of aftermarket development and makes it rank highly among major world automotive events.

Everything is in place. Conferences, presentations of new products, showcases of innovation and prestigious awards all make Equip Auto the place to be this October for anyone involved in the UK Aftermarket.

If your business is to stay in touch with developments in the industry – and take advantage of them – you really should be there.


  • DATE: Tuesday October 13 – Sunday October 18, 2009
  • VENUE: Paris-Nord Villepinte Exhibition Centre – 93420 Villepinte France, Halls 2-6
  • BOOKING: Book online and plan your visit at www.equipauto.com

Published by emmabutcher

Emma has been CAT's editor since January 2008. There isn't much she doesn't know about the aftermarket - and her favourite topic is definitely BER!

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