Cologne: 04.–06.06.2024 #thetirecologne

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An interview with Ingo Riedeberger

„The excitement about the trade fair is palpable“

With just over a month to go before the start of THE TIRE COLOGNE 2024, excitement is building for the innovations from the international tire and wheel industry. When the leading global trade fair opens its halls in Cologne from June 4 to 6, the focus will once again be on forward-looking trends and key topics in the industry. We talk to Director Ingo Riedeberger about the expectations and current needs of the tire industry as well as innovations for the future of mobility.

Ingo Riedeberger, Director of THE TIRE COLOGNE. © Koelnmesse GmbH

Ingo Riedeberger (Bild: © Koelnmesse GmbH)

Expectations of the trade fair

Ingo Riedeberger, THE TIRE COLOGNE will once again be the meeting place for the global wheel and tire industry at the beginning of June. What are the expectations for this year's edition and what is the general trend?

For this year's edition, the number of exhibitors has almost doubled compared to the 2022 event. The exhibition space has also grown by over 50 percent. This shows the increasing attractiveness of the trade fair at an international level: around 70 percent of exhibitors come from abroad and we are also expecting a high level of internationality on the visitor side again - this diversity is what makes a leading global trade fair. Many of the top international brands are on board this year, so the trade fair is very well positioned for the future.

What mood do you sense in the industry with regard to THE TIRE COLOGNE?

My impression is that there is a great passion for the trade fair within the industry. At the 2022 event, the joy of being able to meet and exchange ideas in person again after the long pandemic period was palpable. This year, we are experiencing even greater anticipation for the trade fair. This is reflected, among other things, in the extensive preparations and invitations from the exhibiting companies.

International meeting place for the tire industry (Bild: © Koelnmesse GmbH)

With its unique focus on tires and wheels, THE TIRE COLOGNE is the industry meeting place for networking and business. © Koelnmesse GmbH

Meeting place for networking and business

What makes the trade fair so interesting for the tire and wheel industry?

With a globally unique focus on tires and wheels, the trade fair is the leading industry meeting place for networking and business. THE TIRE COLOGNE is above all a trade fair for decision-makers. A total of 89 percent of visitors are involved in their company's decision-making process. Top decision-makers on the exhibitor and visitor side will find a very high density of high-caliber discussion partners here. The trade fair also offers a unique overview of the latest developments and trends in the industry with its comprehensive coverage of the entire value chain.

THE TIRE COLOGNE is a trade fair for decision-makers (Image: © Koelnmesse GmbH)

Decision-makers on the exhibitor and visitor side will find a very high density of top-class discussion partners. © Koelnmesse GmbH

Key topics for 2024

What topics will THE TIRE COLOGNE 2024 focus on?

It's about topics that are currently affecting the industry - above all the overarching topic of sustainability. The major manufacturers are now looking at how they can produce their tires more sustainably, how tire abrasion can be reduced and how retreading and the circular economy can be promoted. The Circular Economy Area at the trade fair will bring together companies from the entire tire circular economy. The second major topic at this year's THE TIRE COLOGNE will be digitalization. Digital tools are playing an increasingly important role in the tire trade, but also in workshop processes. In the Workshop Live area, for example, we will show how a forward-looking workshop can work more efficiently and in a more targeted manner with digital and automated processes.

Retreading and recycling are focus topics at the trade fair (Image: © Koelnmesse GmbH)

Retreading, recycling and circular economy are focus topics at the trade fair. © Koelnmesse GmbH

Circular economy and tire industry

What specific approaches are you seeing for the circular economy in the industry?

Even at the beginning of the value chain, manufacturers are now paying very close attention to sustainable production methods. The retreading segment will play a major role at THE TIRE COLOGNE. For truck tires, this is associated with a very good price-performance ratio. It is just as important to think the circular economy through to the end. Together with the Alliance Future Tires AZuR and other partners, we will therefore be hosting a signing ceremony for the Waste Tire Resolution at the upcoming trade fair. The resolution calls for tires used in the EU to be recycled there as well.

Focus on current industry topics

What other current topics will play a role at the trade fair?

Among other things, the German tire trade association BRV will be holding information events on this year's introduction of mandatory TPMS for trucks. This will focus on the legal basis and technical requirements. In addition, exhibitors specializing in the relevant sensor technology will be presenting their innovations at the trade fair. Another important topic is the shortage of skilled workers. The focus here will be on the question of how to find, retain and motivate staff, as well as examples of automated processes with artificial intelligence.

THE TIRE COLOGNE shows future prospects (Image: © Koelnmesse GmbH)

THE TIRE COLOGNE showcases the innovations and future topics of the wheel and tire industry. © Koelnmesse GmbH

Prospects for the future

Keyword AI: What prospects do you see for the wheel and tire industry?

The keyword here is smart tires, because tires are becoming increasingly intelligent. Sensors installed in the tires provide data on their condition. This is important information for today's assistance systems in cars or workshops. However, I see much greater potential here. If, for example, mobility data such as the condition of the road or the traffic jam situation can be communicated via the tires in the future. Intelligent tires also play a decisive role in the further development of autonomous driving.

What are the future challenges for the industry and for the trade fair?

I see the biggest challenge for the industry in a changing market image. Tires are becoming more durable. The number of vehicles is also decreasing. On the other hand, there is more competition on the European market in particular from Asian suppliers with increasing quality awareness. The trade fair is a mirror of the market. We will therefore continue to be close to the industry in the future in order to meet its changing requirements and provide impetus for future innovations.


Ralf Ferdinand Broekman/Leif Hallerbach I Broekman+Partner