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UPDATED: Automechanika, NACE to Combine Forces in 2017

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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 FenderBender, ASA chairman Donny Seyfer emphasized that the association did not sell the show to Messe Frankfurt.

“We’re working together,” he said. “We think that if we both bring the best things we do together, we’ll build a nice show for the NACE attendees.”

Seyfer said that conversations began in earnest between the organizations several months ago, with Automechanika approaching ASA. 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 for their respective 2017 shows. 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 complenet us well,” he 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 both brands to Chicago in July. 

“It was the success of NACE in Anaheim that really was the last piece of the puzzle for Automechanika, when they saw what we were doing and how we were doing it,” ASA Vice President Tony Molla said.

Risley also negotiated to bring the co-located events at NACE—such as the Collision Industry Conference and the I-CAR Repairability Summit—to the new event, and Seyfer said he believes that all co-located events would be retained.  

Finally, the ASA board of directors voted to remove the CARS mechanical show from the NACE brand.

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