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Connected with the future

Nicoletta Ferrini

Autopromotec 2019 Here much of the efforts lavished by the sector in developing and proposing innovative
Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines! No, activate your connections, instead. The future of mobility is here and it is digital, connected and smart. We need an entire vocabulary 4.0 to describe the transformation taking place in the automotive sector. 

Waiting for the final figures on the total number of participants at the end of the five days of the event, the outstanding participation rate by exhibiting companies is in itself already a confirmation of the growing popularity of the event. “This fair is a showcase as well as a mirror of the country,” said the President of Confindustria, Vincenzo Boccia, greeting the audience present at the opening conference through a video message. And the fact that, for over 50 years, the show has been staged in what has been named “the Motor Valley” is not accidental: with 16,500 companies and more than 60,000 employees, not to mention exports worth over 5 billion euro, the automotive sector of the Emilia-Romagna Region is the perfect representation of Italy’s automotive industry. “We are in the heart of the MotorValley, the very essence of Italy’s automotive sector - explained Mauro Severi, President of AICA (Italian Garage Equipment Manufacturers Association), responsible for organizing the event together with AIRP (Italian Association of Tire Retreaders) -. Here is where sports cars and motorcycles, able to compete and win around the world, are made; the land of an industrial system that designs, produces and exports ground-breaking vehicles and equipment”.

At Autopromotec, the Italian automotive aftermarket supply chain reveals its best cards, proving ready to take up the challenge brought about by the relentless innovation sweeping through the sector and increasingly globalized markets: “A complex situation that can be successfully dealt with only by creating a strong continental market, with common legislative provisions and technical rules - said Severi -. Italy needs Europe, a close-knit system able to facilitate the structural growth of member countries, giving everyone the opportunity to emerge on the basis of the many excellences called upon to coexist and create a system. We need a strong European community, with free and open markets to help revamp a stagnant economy that has, for far too long, been at the mercy of short-sighted political strategies”. In the meantime, the technological transformation of the automotive market is setting out some clear indicators on the evolution of the car repair sector. From the platform at Autopromotec 2019, President Severi made a heartfelt appeal: “The future of our companies depends on their being ready to deal with change and innovation. In order to effectively assist and maintain increasingly connected, reliable and sustainable vehicles, new skills are needed along with new services and modern equipment designed to harmonize with new mobility trends”. “Training” and “innovation” are the new key words.

This was confirmed by Palma Costi, Councillor for Production Activities of the Emilia Romagna Region, who recalled all the commitments and efforts made in recent years. In terms of training, the Region acted on several levels, preparing two dedicated University courses recognized worldwide, through MUNER (Motorvehicle University of Emilia-Romagna), a synergy between the main Universities in the region (University of Bologna, the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, the University of Parma and the University of Ferrara), and car manufacturers, but also post-diploma training courses for technicians and/or entrepreneurs. The development of skills must walk hand-in-hand with the need to invest in innovation and, specifically, on “hot” issues such as big data processing and the application of artificial intelligence. “2% of the regional GDP is invested in research and development, 1.5% of which by private companies, thus proving to believe in this process of transformation, - highlighted the Councillor -. Our goal, as a Region, is to become an international digital hub. Now, last but not least, internationalization. “The automotive industry is responsible for a significant part of our national and regional exports, - said Costi. - The Region is working on privileged relationships with promising markets”. Trade fairs are, in fact, an exceptional tool to promote an International outlook: “It is not enough to be aware of one’s own excellence and competence, one must make it known to the world. And for this we cannot help being grateful with Autopromotec organizers for their contribution in this regard”. The support offered by trade fairs to companies in their International growth process was also mentioned by Gianpiero Calzolari, President of BolognaFiere: “our activity is characterized by a strong B2B orientation, an international outlook and a close collaboration with trade fairs organizers who host their events here”.

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