The increasingly rapid transition from fossil fuel to electric vehicles is a major test for the automotive service and aftermarket industry. ‘Some are having a tough time, but at the same time new opportunities are opening up’, says Johnny Bräster from the Association of Swedish Car Parts Wholesalers (SBF). Electrification and digitisation will be important topics for discussion at the Automässan Auto Trade Fair, which will be held on 18–21 January 2023.
Interest in Automässan is running high, despite the effects of the pandemic. Bookings are currently up compared with the corresponding time before the last show, as Anna Lena Friberg, Business Manager at Automässan, confirms:
‘Eighty per cent of the exhibition space has already been booked, and the noises coming from the exhibitors are positive. Within the industry, there is a belief in the future. Of course, we don’t know how things will turn out, but it will be a great trade fair’.
Things are going well in the automotive service and aftermarket industry, despite the delays with deliveries and increased shipping costs that have affected many in the wake of the pandemic.
High pressure in the industry
‘More and more people are using the car on a day-to-day basis, rather than the bus and train, to reduce the risk of becoming infected. A lot of people have also opted for “staycations” using the car instead of travelling abroad, so the garages have been booked up’, says Gilbert Fransson, Operations Manager at the garage equipment supply association Fordonsverkstadsutrustarna (FVU).
However, major challenges remain. The right of garages to access the vehicle’s S-OTP, Secure On-board Telematics Platform, is one example. The core issue relates to who owns the data in the vehicle – the owner or the manufacturer? For ordinary garages this is a key question, one that is awaiting a decision by the EU.
A related issue, which is likely to be discussed keenly at the show, is SERMI.Through licensing, garages will be given access to information that has been security classified by the vehicle manufacturer, such as anti-theft protection and engine management.
A battle against time
The EU Commission has now decided that garages wishing to have access to the information must be SERMI-certified by no later than 1 August 2023, which will mean a race against time.
‘For the industry, this will mean a real challenge getting the control companies accredited that will then certify the garages. In turn, that will place new demands on staff training. Here, too, it will be a race against time’, maintains Johnny Bräster from SBF.
Johnny Bräster thinks that the issue of training will be important at Automässan.
‘Changing technology means that we need new skills. We need to develop the skills of existing employees, but also to attract new generations. Here, I believe that digitisation will help open more people’s eyes to our industry’, says Johnny Bräster.
The change in technology creates opportunities
The electrification of the vehicle fleet poses a long-term threat to both garages and wholesalers. This is because a vehicle with a combustion engine contains thousands more spare parts than an electric vehicle. The trend is clear, but there are still around 20 cars running on fossil fuel for every electric or hybrid vehicle in Sweden.
‘We are talking about a phasing out, but it will take a long time. I’m optimistic. Our industry is not at risk of dying out because of the changing technology, but we do need to adapt. Those who are professional and far-sighted will get through. Some are having a tough time, while others see new opportunities’, says Johnny Bräster.
‘Electrification and the increase in digitisation are absolutely the biggest challenges for the industry. For this reason, a lot of the show will concentrate on these issues, both at seminars and on the exhibition floor’, says Johnny Bräster.
Automässan is the biggest meeting place in northern Europe for the automotive service and aftermarket industry. Automässan 2023 will be held on 18–21 January 2023 and will be arranged on behalf of the garage equipment supply association FVU (Fordonsverkstadsutrustarna) and SBF (the Association of Swedish Car Parts Wholesalers). In 2020, Automässan had 280 exhibitors from 17 countries and 17,000 visits from 59 countries.
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Anna Lena Friberg, business manager Automässan
T: 031-708 80 68
Carmen Brüning, sales manager Automässan
T: 031-708 80 92
The Auto Trade Fair 2023 is arranged by FVU (The Association of Garage Equipment Suppliers) and SBF (Association of Swedish Car Parts Wholesalers ) in collaboration with MRF (The Swedish National Association for Motor Trades & Repairs), MAF (The Swedish Motor Trade Employers’ Association), DRF (Däckspecialisternas Riksförbund) and SFVF (Sveriges Fordonsverkstäders Förening).