Interview with Ingo Riedeberger for "Reifenpresse" (trade press)
How are the exhibitor bookings for this year's The Tire Cologne shaping up?
Mr Riedeberger: The preparations for THE TIRE COLOGNE have been in full swing for months now, with the aim of making sure the trade fair once again takes up the mantle of the most important networking event for the B2B sector. As a central meeting point for the industry, the trade fair’s goal is to actively promote dialogue and networking within the tire business. THE TIRE COLOGNE 2024 is therefore set to be a vibrant, varied and highly dynamic event featuring an innovative exhibition concept and a diverse array of event and networking formats. Our aim is to facilitate dialogue within the industry in a targeted way.
The three themed areas – Tires/Wheels/Trade, Workshop Equipment/Services and Retreading/Recycling – not only provide a means of orientation in the market and showcase the latest innovations, but also serve as a platform where the participating companies can network efficiently and expand their reach. We are currently right on track with regard to registrations. But it is true that many companies will arrange their visit to this year's edition of THE TIRE COLOGNE more last-minute than they would have done prior to the pandemic. The fact that we are unable to name exhibitors at an early stage for internal company reasons does not reveal anything about the attendance or quality of the trade fair.
We are currently involved in a range of talks with the relevant stakeholders and are pleased to reveal that we are not just receiving positive responses from well-known brands, but also some returning and new exhibitors, such as Maxxis and MRF in the tire and wheel segment, Heuver with its brand Albourgh, Euromaster and tyre24.com in the trade segment, VIPAL, B&J Rocket and Tech Europe in the retreading and repair segment, and Würth in the workshop equipment segment. So, overall, we are again expecting a strong event.
How do the number of participating companies and booked stands for the 2024 event compare to the figures at this stage in the run-up to the 2022 event?
Mr Riedeberger: In my view, THE TIRE COLOGNE has consistently performed strongly and has had an enduring impact, which has undoubtedly vindicated the decision to create a new platform for the sector in Cologne. But the whole story is that trade fairs have to distinguish between the pre-pandemic period and the post-pandemic one, as the pandemic was a watershed moment. For that reason, it is impossible to compare THE TIRE COLOGNE 2022 with the 2024 event, let alone the 2018 one. For one thing, a process of consolidation is taking place in the market. For another, our objective today is no longer to top previous visitor and exhibitor records, but to keep moving the trade fair forward on the conceptual level.
An industry get-together such as THE TIRE COLOGNE must be more than an exhibition, as it was in the past. I firmly believe that in the future we should increase our focus on community and networking and keep providing the necessary impetus for this. On the whole, this means that the upcoming event will use the same hall layout as TTC 2022, but will feature far more exhibitors – around 50 percent more, in fact.
Which market segments are particularly well represented at THE TIRE COLOGNE, and where would you like to see stronger participation?
Mr Riedeberger: That's not so easy to answer. The industry undoubtedly faces a variety of challenges, be it supply chain problems, the rising costs of raw materials, new product requirements caused by the rise of e-mobility or, of course, the major issue of sustainability. Sustainability is no longer an end in itself but a topic that is relevant for business. The economy and the environment must be in tune with one another going forward. These factors and more result in a consolidation on the market, among other things.
On the other hand, we are currently seeing a strong comeback as far as participation from abroad is concerned, particularly from Asia. More than any other trade fair, TTC is focused on relevant trends and key topics offering future potential and business opportunities. With this in mind, we developed the concept of a Circular Economy Area to bring together players operating across the entire value chain in the tire industry with a circular approach. One example is AZuR, the Alliance for the Future of Tyres, which exhibits with various partners, allowing visitors to take a look at the big picture. Accordingly, the issue of retreading will have a key role to play at TTC. A raft of well-known industry players and experts will participate in discussions on this topic at the fair.
The issue of recycling in particular harbours enormous growth potential in the tire industry – innovative approaches to thermal and material recycling are being developed, bringing a breath of fresh air and momentum into the industry.
What will distinguish the upcoming trade fair from the previous edition? Or, to put it another way, will The Tire Cologne place greater emphasis on certain topics than it has in the past? Conversely, are some no longer as relevant?
Mr Riedeberger: THE TIRE COLOGNE's mission is to be at the forefront of all relevant discussions in the global tire industry. Consequently, the trade fair will also address topics such as the shortage of skilled workers facing specialist retailers and the need for specialist tire dealers to boost their competitiveness to succeed in the market in future.
Vehicles are becoming ever more technically sophisticated. This, along with the ongoing digitalisation, is placing increasing demands on workshops. That is why, together with our exhibitors Hunter and Würth, we will provide a glimpse into the workshop requirements of tomorrow in our Workshop LIVE themed area.
As a global knowledge leader and in the spirit of change through knowledge, TTC will provide a forum for dialogue between renowned industry experts and prominent future and trend researchers.
Why should professionals in the tire retail and servicing industry not pass up the chance to visit the trade fair?
Mr Riedeberger: The TTC programme takes a comprehensive look at tire-related topics in all their complexity, drawing attention to products and innovations, for one thing, and retail and eCommerce players, for another, and that’s not to mention the issues of the circular economy, recycling, inventory and logistics. While TTC is still a relatively typical B2B trade fair that is increasingly developing into a networking event, we do not lose sight of the aspects that people connect to on an emotional level. But if I were to reveal all now, that would ruin the surprise. So, you will have to wait just a little bit longer!