Sept. 14, 2016—The Automotive Service Association (ASA) announced that it has partnered with Messe Frankfurt, owner of Automechanika, to co-produce NACE | Automechanika in 2017.
The event will take place July 26-29 in Chicago.
In a conversation with Ratchet+Wrench, ASA chairman Donny Seyfer said that the move also followed a decision by the ASA board to remove CARS from the NACE brand.
"We felt that CARS needed its own identity," Seyfer said. "There were a lot of people who weren't fans of this being blended together anyway because they were really different events. One was 100 percent education and that was what we have CARS focused on."
Seyfer said that the CARS brand will continue but the details have not been ironed out yet.
Conversations began in earnest between the organizations several months ago, with Automechanika approaching ASA about a possible collaboration, Seyfer said.The partnership would allow the association, particularly executive director Dan Risley, to spend less time planning the NACE event and focus more resources on educational offerings and membership.
“Our time resource issue was that there wasn’t enough of our staff to go around to do all the things we wanted to do,” Seyfer said. “We were supposed to be a trade association that had a show and we were kind of turning into a show that happened to have a trade association.”
Darrell Amberson, immediate past chairman of ASA, acknowledged that the relationship between Automechanika Chicago and NACE has evolved significantly. Amberson said ASA initially viewed the show as a competitor, particularly thanks to its original conflicting dates in 2017. However, he said that the continued conversations made it evident that it was a mutually beneficial partnership, with Automechanika Chicago looking for a reputable partner with strong relationships within the collision repair and OE community.
“Being able to minimize risk for ASA, provide some stability, shift some responsibility to another entity, and I’d like to think that other entity is going to complement us well,” Amberson said. “Their motivation is to grow their show in this country. ASA brings a lot of strong relationships to the table that I think are going to help us complement each other.”
Seyfer said the move addresses feedback from the industry that there are too many shows to attend. In addition, he said combining the shows should help attract more exhibitors, which generally value large attendance numbers.
Seyfer said that the partnership did not reflect poor health for NACE and said the association was already in the early planning stages for the 2017 show in Atlanta. Instead, he said that Automechanika Chicago recognized the brand equity and looked to take advantage of that value by changing its name to NACE | Automechanika and bringing the new combined show to Chicago in July.