Trade shows are a unique opportunity for marketing and network-building, especially for automotive manufacturers. Car shows and motoring expos are important tools that car brands and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) utilise fully to expand their footprint and bring together investors, potential customers and partners alike.

Due to the costs of hosting a large trade show event, they are fairly limited in South Africa. This is why it is so important for automotive and parts manufacturers to attend these expos when they do happen. Trade shows can open doors for automotive businesses, providing them with a platform to showcase their products and engage with target audiences in some of the following ways.

Knowledge sharing and trend-setting

They allow industry stakeholders to share insights and knowledge with one another. As new ideas lead to new trends, automotive manufacturers can stay in the game and develop their products to meet the needs of the market. Attending a trade show will allow automotive businesses to identify gaps in the market and improve upon their existing designs and offerings.

It also allows car brands to launch new models and concepts to the audience; judging reactions and interest at the same time. These events are where major changes in technology and materials are born, so attending expos allows automotive brands to stay on-trend and up-to-date.

Engaging with potential customers

Automotive trade shows bring together people with similar interests. Car brands and parts manufacturers can showcase their products to an audience that will have a genuine desire to make a purchase. Attendees are already a targeted audience, which makes them more likely to buy a product.

These potential customers will be more receptive to ideas and offerings. Connecting with these clients and consumers will be a relatively easy task for businesses that attend trade shows. Even if a business does not make a sale at the expo, it can gather contact details, feedback and valuable marketing information from potential customers.

This lead generation and data gathering is another beneficial aspect of attending a trade show. Setting up a stand or stall at an expo will attract visitors and initiate sales for a business and potential consumers can see, experience and feel your products first-hand.

Networking with distributors and suppliers

Having the right suppliers and distributors can make all the difference to vehicle and parts manufacturers. Trade shows allow businesses to form lasting relationships; it opens doors to suppliers, buyers, transporters and investors and this improves the quality of business and increases the chances of success.

The face-to-face networking opportunities presented allow automotive businesses to meet potential partners and communicate more effectively. Suppliers can see what you need, buyers can see what you have to offer and investors can see where your business can grow.

There are multiple benefits for automotive manufacturers that attend trade shows and car expos and staying up-to-date with the latest trends and gathering knowledge will allow a business to evolve and grow. Targeting interested customers and generating sales will also allow businesses to form viable partnerships and assist one another to succeed in a competitive industry. 


Formex Industries is a metal forming and assembly company that supplies a variety of complex products to the local automotive industry and export market. The company is based in the Nelson Mandela Bay metropole, South Africa’s foremost region for automotive manufacturing and export.

Formex specialises in producing components for the catalytic converter industry, as well as metal components and assemblies for the various vehicles. Formex aims to become one of the foremost suppliers for the South African automotive industry by 2035, aligning itself with the South African Automotive Masterplan (SAAM) which takes effect in 2020.

Formex is a Level 2 B-BBEE supplier with over 80% black ownership, of which more than 40% are black women. The company is owned by Deneb Investments Limited – a subsidiary of Hosken Consolidated Investments Limited (HCI) – one of South Africa’s biggest true B-BBEE companies listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE).

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