German-based aftermarket trade show organiser Automechanika has set out new digital networking opportunities for "everyone who had been looking forward to coming to Frankfurt this September".

Starting on 10 September, there will be a series of online training courses for workshops available at sneak-preview.automechanika-frankfurt.com. Visitors to the website will also find updated company profiles for exhibitors, while users of the new 'Connect' tool in the Automechanika app will be able to contact other automotive professionals directly.

The physical event, Automechanika Frankfurt, the international industry gathering for the automotive aftermarket, is being postponed until 14 to 18 September 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Thomas Fischer, Chairman of AAMPACT e.V., the International Independent Aftermarket Association, said: "This digital alternative presents the industry with an opportunity to showcase their latest products and services even in the year of the coronavirus while allowing them to stay in touch with their customers. Even so, our members are very much looking forward to seeing one another in person again and everyone has already announced that they will be back next year."

Jürgen Karpinski, President of the German Federation for Motor Trades and Repairs (ZDK) said: "Automechanika's digital offensive is an excellent initiative, and I wholeheartedly support it. Training in particular is essential to our industry, and the wide range of online seminars and workshops represents an excellent opportunity for workshops to obtain training this year free of charge."

'Collision talk' live-stream to kick off the sneak preview

'Collision talk', the Automechanika Frankfurt event that draws more visitors than any other, will be held as a web TV show this year. Taking place on 10 September from 5:00 p.m., the event brings together leading decision-makers from the accident repair market and marks the start of Automechanika Frankfurt's online event series. The live stream is being organised by the 'schaden.news' and 'Fahrzeug + Karosserie' trade journals (Vogel Verlag, Würzburg) in cooperation with Automechanika Frankfurt. The event is being moderated by Christian Simmert (Editor-in-Chief of schaden.news) and Konrad Wenz (Editor-in-Chief of Fahrzeug + Karosserie) and will be broadcast from Volkswagen's Transparent Factory in Dresden.

The discussion will revolve around the pandemic's impact on the accident repair market. For the first time since the beginning of the coronavirus crisis in Germany, automotive insurers, claims managers, paint manufacturers, associations, experts and company owners will be joining in a public discussion of COVID-19's impact on the industry. The event involves the following guests: Thomas Geck (Director of Claims Process Management for HUK-Coburg), Ludger Kersting (Managing Director of SPN Service Partner Netzwerk GmbH / Director of Automotive Services for ADAC), Matthew Whittall (CEO of the Innovation Group), Andreas Brodhage (Managing Director of Global Automotive Service), ZKF President Peter Börner, Reinhard Beyer (Chairman of the Board of the German Association of Partner Workshops (BVdP)) and Henning Hamann (Lawyer with ETL Kanzlei Voigt). An assessment of future trends in the automotive repair market will also be provided by sales directors of leading paint manufacturers. Benjamin Burkard (Akzo Nobel), Tobias Brefeld (BASF, Glasurit) and Thomas Leuchten (PPG Nexa Autocolor) will be talking with young owners about the future of companies in the field.

Live workshops, coaching sessions and expert talks for German workshops

'Collision talk' will be followed by approx. twenty free online events planned from September to November 2020 that are being organised by Automechanika in conjunction with leading trade publishers and industry partners. These include live workshops, coaching sessions, video tutorials, podcasts and expert talks on the following topics: classic car repairs, radar and camera-based driver assistance systems for commercial vehicles, digital company workshops, accident repairs, paintwork and finishing for repairs, bodywork dent removal techniques, joining and separation techniques, and DAT damage cost calculation and digital communication. There are also additional live workshops and videos on the topics of AML, the installation of auxiliary lights, ADAS calibration, headlight adjustment, and on-board electronic diagnostics with reading out the fault memory planned, as well as an exploration of hydrogen and fuel cell technology using a Toyota Mirai as an example.