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Searching for the next big thing in automotive aftermarket entries now open for 2022 innovation awards

Mar 24, 2022

Product innovation is synonymous with the Automechanika brand and as such, the Innovation Awards have been a highlight of the local event since it was first held in 2009. Pioneering products and innovations will once again be celebrated when Automechanika Johannesburg – South Africa’s premier trade fair – returns to National Exhibition Centre, Nasrec, Johannesburg between 7 and 10 June 2022.

Says Michael Dehn, Managing Director of Messe Frankfurt South Africa, the organisers of Automechanika Johannesburg: “We are proud to announce that entries for the 2022 Innovation Awards are now open. Manufacturers, suppliers, and distributors are invited to submit automotive products they deem to be innovative and pioneering in their respective fields for scrutiny.

“The trade fair serves as a gateway for the growing African automotive aftermarket, targeting visitors from sub-Saharan Africa, and is respected as the largest event of its type on the African continent. There is no better way to gain industry and consumer recognition than taking part in a highly respected competition that aims to award the best of the best in terms of innovation and forward thinking,” Dehn continues.

Over the years the finalists and winners in the Innovation Awards have been showcased in a special exhibit at the show and have garnered huge interest from industry representatives and the public alike. Winners have been able to successfully harness their achievements in the competition to bolster their marketing programmes and – as a result – have tasted local and international success.

After many successful years as convenor of the Innovation Awards, industry stalwart Wynter Murdoch has handed over the reins to Liana Reiners. No stranger to the automotive and related industries, Reiners has 32 years’ experience as a journalist; most notably a 22-year stint at Wheels Motoring Annual and senior positions at publications such as Car & Leisure, Accelerate and – most recently – AutoLive.

“The aim of the Innovation Awards is to find the best aftermarket products in South Africa from a selection of categories and utilise Automechanika Johannesburg as the platform to honour the pioneering prowess of each winning item,” she explains. “Entries will be judged by an independent jury of highly qualified and respected automotive experts representing recognised organisations and representative bodies within the industry. Names of jury members and the organisations they represent will be made public once the panel has been finalised.

“They will score products on a predetermined list of criteria. These include design, quality, efficiency, functionality, practicality, value for money, environmental friendliness and – of course – innovation. The cut-off date to enter is midday on Friday, May 6th 2022.”

In keeping with the latest automotive trends, the categories of the 2022 competition have been streamlined. The 10 categories are:

1.    Parts

2.    Accessories & Customising

3.    Driver Assistance & Safety

4.    E-mobility

5.    Data & Connectivity

6.    Diagnostics & Tuning

7.    Repair & Maintenance

8.    Original Equipment Products & Services

9.    IT & Management

10.  Service Station & Car Wash equipment

Prospective entrants must submit photographs and a detailed description of any automotive aftermarket or original equipment product they have developed, manufactured, imported, or distributed in South Africa. There is no entry fee.

The description of each product must include its country of origin, when it was introduced to the South African market, the category of the aftermarket in which it competes, as well as the following:

·         Perceived innovative quality

·         The solution the product aims to provide

·         Its functionality and user benefits

·         Perceived economic efficiency

·         Safety aspects it promotes

·         Environmental aspects it promotes

·         Its relevance to the automotive sector in which it competes

Based on the photographs and descriptions – which must include information relating to the technical characteristics and relevance of each product, jury members will score and rank each item. Products that achieve the highest marks on a collective basis will be deemed to be finalists in the competition. Representatives of the companies whose products have been selected will be asked to submit – on Monday,

May 23rd – two examples of the items for physical scrutiny by jury members.

Following physical evaluation, winners will be determined on the basis of highest marks scored. Gold, silver and bronze certificates will be awarded to the top three products, while the remaining finalists will receive highly commended certificates.

Winners will be announced at an awards ceremony which will form part of the trade fair’s official opening on Tuesday, June 7th. Messe Frankfurt South Africa, organisers of Automechanika Johannesburg 2022, will arrange for an exhibit of all the finalist products to be highlighted in a special display at the show under an Innovation Awards banner.


To enter Automechanika Johannesburg’s Innovation Awards Competition, entrants are requested to submit by e-mail on or before midday on Friday, May 6th 2022, their product motivations, along with hi-resolution pictures of at least 1 Mb in size of the items. Each entry must include the e-mail address and telephone number of the person responsible for the submission, along with details of the company he or she represents.

Entries must be sent to the competition’s convenor, Liana Reiners, at the following e-mail address:

Queries or requests for additional information on the Innovation Awards, contact Liana Reiners on 083 407 4600 or via e-mail at

For more information on Automechanika Johannesburg 2022, please visit our website


Background information on Messe Frankfurt

The Messe Frankfurt Group is the world’s largest trade fair, congress and event organiser with its own exhibition grounds. The Group employs approximately 2,300* people at its headquarters in Frankfurt am Main and in 30 subsidiaries around the world. In 2021, the company had to contend with the challenges posed by the pandemic for the second consecutive year. Annual sales will be approximately €140* million after having been as high as €736 million in 2019 before the pandemic. Even in difficult times caused by the coronavirus pandemic, we are globally networked with our industry sectors. We have close ties with our industry sectors and serve our customers’ business interests efficiently within the framework of our Fairs & Events, Locations and Services business fields. One of the Group’s key USPs is its closely knit global sales network, which extends throughout the world. Our comprehensive range of services – both onsite and online – ensures that customers worldwide enjoy consistently high quality and flexibility when planning, organising and running their events. We are expanding our digital expertise with new business models. The wide range of services includes renting exhibition grounds, trade fair construction and marketing, personnel and food services. Headquartered in Frankfurt am Main, the company is owned by the City of Frankfurt (60 percent) and the State of Hesse (40 percent).

For more information, please visit our website at:

* Preliminary figures for 2021



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