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NEXT year’s Australian Auto Aftermarket Expo is expected to be the biggest event yet, as the biennial show makes Melbourne its permanent home after years of alternating with Sydney.

Held at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre from April 4 to 6, 2019, the show is run by the Australian Automotive Aftermarket Association (AAAA) and is held in conjunction with the Collision Repair Expo.

The AAAA said that the Melbourne site was deemed more appropriate given the growth of the show in recent years, and the expected growth in the coming years.

Gone south: The AAAA’s expo will now be held in Melbourne permanently after previously swapping every two years with Sydney.

The expo will house more than 400 local and international auto aftermarket companies, with more than 10,000 service business owners, parts resellers, distributors, buyers and manufacturers expected to visit the trade-only event.

So far, the AAAA says there are 377 confirmed exhibitors, with 89 per cent of the space sold with six months still to go before the event.

Monroe Shock Absorbers will be the major corporate sponsor for the fifth year in a row, and the association says the expo will showcase some of the success stories achieved by Australian and global companies through the Innovation Awards Breakfast.

The Australian aftermarket industry will be on show with awards including Outstanding Service to Industry, Young Achiever Award and the induction of major industry contributors to the Australian Automotive Aftermarket Hall of Fame as part of the Expo Gala Awards Banquet.

This year participants can register for various business training sessions, industry-specific seminars and state-of-the-industry presentations.

The overall theme for next year’s aftermarket expo will be ‘build a better auto business’.

Speaking with GoAuto at the launch of the expo in Melbourne last week, AAAA executive director Stuart Charity said the association was expecting record numbers for the 2019 expo, a result he said would be welcome on the back of the closure of vehicle manufacturing in the past year.

“It is really interesting given the doom and gloom that has been over the industry with the shutdown and that uncertainty,” he said.

“Yes, car sales have slowed down a little bit in the last few months, but we have had five, six consecutive years of record growth in new-car sales. The overall car parc in Australia is growing … two per cent, three or 400,000 new cars or extra cars on the road each year. The aftermarket is very vibrant and going well.

“All in all, it’s a pretty buoyant industry and I think that will be reflected in the expo.”

Mr Charity highlighted the strength of the industry and said the expo was a great way for businesses to show their wares and make new connections.

“The parts and maintenance sector of the automotive industry is now Australia’s primary automotive sector that includes world class component manufacturers, marketers and service providers.

“This major Australian trade expo continues to grow in line with our industry’s impressive growth through innovation, service expertise and technological advances.

“This is an event that gives AAAA member companies the ability to meet thousands of customers face to face across three days of business networking, combined with special training seminars and expo stand based training presentations that have been designed to assist them in building better businesses.”

By Tim Nicholson

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