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AAAE: GUD primed for biggest Expo yet

Three-year Expo hiatus stirs up demand for product, technology and networking: GUD

31 Jan 2022

GUD Holdings Limited says this year’s Australian Auto Aftermarket Expo (AAAE) is shaping up to be its biggest yet.


The firm, which represents automotive aftermarket and water product brands including ACS, DBA, Goss, Hayman Reese, Injectronics, Kaymar, Narva, NZ Gaskets, Projecta, Rola, Ryco Filters, Permasel, Unkeek 4x4 and Wesfil, says pent-up demand for new products and technology, plus the draw of prized networking opportunities, has increased during the pandemic-related three-year gap between Expos.


It will arrive at this year’s AAAE with a range of standalone exhibits covering each of its individual brands, as well as a central display encompassing the group’s entire portfolio – and featuring a unique, highly-modified Toyota LandCruiser 300 Series.


“Through one central stand, we’ll try to have representation from pretty much every part of the overall group. And while we do have multiple stands at this year’s Expo, it’s that central stand where we’ll pull everything together,” GUD sales and marketing director Gregor Brown told GoAuto.


“From the GUD group this year, there’s quite a focus on four-wheel drive and trailering, and we will showcase as much as we can on that one stand, but you’ll also see a lot of elements from the wider GUD portfolio incorporated into our central stand as well.


“We’ve not had the ability to see people face-to-face in that informal environment for several years now, and that’s a bit of a shame because the Expo is a great opportunity to meet with people and get a deeper understanding of what’s going on in the industry. 


“It’s also a good barometer for us. It helps us to learn how best to continue to grow and evolve our business and meet relevant people who can help us do that going forward.”


Mr Brown said the group was working at a frenetic pace to ensure it could showcase as many products as possible at April’s Expo and added that he believed most of the automotive aftermarket would do the same.


In addition, ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic had created something of a boon for the industry, and Mr Brown was aware that many firms in GUD’s position were primed for the opportunity to take part.


“We are working as fast as possible to get product to market and we will showcase a lot of it at the Expo. There are a few new items we’ll unveil at the Expo and I can tell you we have a very capable LandCruiser 300 Series ready to dominate our stand – it’s loaded with ‘all new’, and I really mean ‘all new’, products,” he told GoAuto.


“I think we’ve been very fortunate within the aftermarket industry to benefit, in a way, from the economy. We feel for the travel and tourism industry that has suffered, but we’ve been so fortunate that we can have people travel locally in our backyard. That, in turn, has grown a lot of developments you’ll see at the Expo.


“We have many products to help people amend and modify their vehicles, whether that’s to tow something, go touring, or venture seriously off-road. And it is quality kit that we’ll be showcasing. Australians understand how important quality is in having new adventures and creating memories, and we’ve seen a real lift in the quality of kit that people want to put on their vehicles.


“There are more accessories available because of the increased demand across the board, but particularly in the four-wheel drive and trailering part of the aftermarket, and part of the reason for that is the number of new vehicles coming into the mix,” Mr Brown noted. 


From GUD’s perspective, the aftermarket accessories sector was moving at an unprecedented pace, driven by  an increasing desire for quality products and the latest technology. Mr Brown said vehicle personalisation played a key part in driving this demand, as did a greater appreciation for quality and technology.


“Vehicles have evolved, the car parc has really shifted. In fact, I’d say it’s been continually shifting over the last three to five years. SUVs, four-wheel drives and utes are taking a greater share than ever before, and that plays into our industry very well,” Mr Brown explained.


“From our perspective, personalisation is a matter of individual taste, but there are some trends that have appeared, and I’d say most of them pertain to what you see on a vehicle. It’s about protection – front, rear, side, and underneath – then it’s about lighting, cargo and storage solutions, but also touring solutions. 


“Long-range fuel tanks and additional spare wheel carriers are, likewise, particularly relevant at the moment. We’re also seeing that 360-degree lighting and camera technology is becoming increasingly important, and not just to hardcore four-wheel drivers, but for camping and touring enthusiasts as well,” he continued.


Mr Brown said that while consumer exhibitions such as the Caravan Camping & Motorhome Show and National 4x4 Outdoors Show were an intrinsic part of B2C relations for businesses such as those represented by GUD, the AAAE was unique in offering a vital B2B connection with others in the trade.


“It is critically important that we have this type of show where it’s not consumer focused. The Expo gives us the chance to deal with people who are selling, fitting, or repairing, who are developing new products. Networking in this scenario is important for a lot of reasons, be it finding people who can help you develop more parts, or getting the endorsement of your peers,” he stressed.


“The consumer looks through a different lens, but if you’re actually selling it, fitting it, installing it, or repairing it, you have a different viewpoint. It’s really important to understand those people closest to us, because often they are the catalyst between you and the owner of the vehicle. It’s so important that we have a relationship with them and they, in turn, understand our products.


“We’re really looking forward to getting back among it this April,” he concluded.


The Australian Auto Aftermarket Expo (AAAE) is scheduled to take place at the Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre from 7 to 9 April. This year’s AAAE will be co-hosted with the Collision Repair Expo and is the only exhibition to showcase Australia’s $25 billion aftermarket industry. 


The event is expected to welcome over 10,000 visitors from across the country and, with more than 250 exhibitors currently registered, is close to being a sell-out success.


More information is available at autoaftermarketexpo.com.au

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