All systems go for Futuroad

The economic future of South Africa is in the hands of President Cyril Ramaphosa and, while the country waits for the announcement of his new Cabinet, the direction the Rand will take hangs in the balance, as does the difference between growth or recession.

The economy has been on shaky ground for well over a year – yet, in spite of that, the market for truck sales has shown extreme resilience with the first four months of 2019 turning in positive growth.


This bodes well for interest in the biennial Futuroad Expo. This African commercial vehicle exhibition will be co-located with Automechanika Johannesburg at the Expo Centre, Nasrec, from September 18 to 21.

In contrast to declining passenger car sales and little growth in the light commercial vehicle market, medium, heavy, and extra-heavy truck sales have grown, on a year-to-date basis by 14,7%, 6,9% and 1,6% respectively.

“The positive sentiment in the truck market means that Futuroad will be the ideal platform for truck manufacturers and distributors to showcase their products to a visitor audience from across sub-Saharan Africa,” says Joshua Low, the Managing Director of Messe Frankfurt South Africa, the organisers of Futuroad Expo and co-located events Automechanika Johannesburg and Scalex.

“We realise the growing importance of activation opportunities for trade visitors so have arranged a test drive venue for Futuroad exhibitors at Expo Centre this year,” added Low.

This enables visitors to get a first hand experience on the latest handling and capabilities of trucks on display.

“Adding to which we are pleased to announce that the RFA (Road Freight Association) and SABOA (South African Bus Operators Association) have both confirmed that they will be hosting conferences alongside Futuroad Expo 2019. Lastly, we have also added free-to-attend skills development zones in the halls and experiential content, to strengthen the appeal of the event to a wider pool of visitors.”


Futuroad, which is being staged in South Africa for the second time, as a successor to the South African Truck and Bus Show, is the only international trade fair of its kind to be staged in Africa, targeting visitors from across sub-Saharan Africa.

Volvo and its Japanese subsidiary, UD Trucks, which recently introduced two important new models; the medium Kuzer and extra-heavy Quester, have both confirmed their presence at Futuroad. Other brands that have signed up already include: FAW, Tata, Daewoo, Powerstar, JMC, and Fiat Professional, as well as body builders Serco and component supplier Trailquip.

Visitor registration has opened for this year’s Automechanika Johannesburg trade fair and free visitor passes are available online from

This year’s trade fair – the sixth to be staged in Johannesburg – is expected to attract more than 600 exhibitors from over 20 countries and 12 000 visitors.


“We have a big drive to attract key buyers from around Africa and will be conducting road shows to eight key countries in Africa over the coming months. We are also pleased to announce both the DTi and South African Tourism are offering funding for a hosted buyer programme from these countries. We encourage our exhibitors and companies who will participate at Automechanika and its co-located events to invite their clients in Africa, through this funding,” says Low.

There are already 15 high-level conferences that have been confirmed to run alongside Automechanika Johannesburg and its co-located events. Some of the organisations that have already confirmed that they will be running conferences alongside Automechanika Johannesburg include the Retail Motor Industry organisation, Fuel Retailers Association, Collision Repairers Association and the RMI REMAN Cluster.

In addition, the Motor Industry Association of Zimbabwe will hold its annual conference at Expo Centre during the event. This will be the first time that this annual congress, which attracts top level buyers, will be hosted outside of Zimbabwe.

An important innovation for the 2019 edition of Automechanika Johannesburg will be a Virtual Reality Zone where visitors can experience the latest automotive repair and servicing technologies through virtual reality.


“Apart from the conferences and virtual reality zones, we will have free-to-attend workshops running in halls 5 and 6, and demo areas, where interactive and experiential content will be on offer. Some examples of this content include an international spray-painting competition, a turbo charger repair competition, among others” adds Low.

“We realise that interactive opportunities are increasingly important for visitors to trade fairs and other exhibitions worldwide, so we encourage exhibitors to make use of this strategy for their display stands at the show in September.”

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