AM Online

NGK UK sparked up by lack of support for motor show

The automotive aftermarket was noticeable by its absence at the Sunday Times Motor Show Live 2004: stacks of metal and plenty of action to make the NEC event an entertaining one, but little evidence of the sector that supports the carmakers as OE suppliers and the motorist in service, repair and maintenance.

NGK Spark Plugs (UK), however, hasn’t missed an SMMT-organised motor show in 30 years, and despite the majority of its peers giving Britain’s largest public automotive spectacle the cold shoulder, the company that lays claim to spark plug market leadership didn’t even consider not showing up.

Why – particularly when there are several public/trade and trade-only shows on which to to blow the marketing budge, not least next spring’s AutoExCeL?

AM got an evangelical answer from Brian Childs, NGK (UK)’s deputy managing director, sales and marketing.

“The motor show is an important event for all of us in the UK aftermarket – it’s a vital opportunity to get our message through to the UK motorist,” he says. “There’s an increasing feeling with today’s motorist that the hundreds of components essential to make the modern car run are designed to last forever. With this fixed belief that nothing can ever go wrong, maintenance can be safely ignored until something actually does go wrong.”

Childs believes components manufacturers have a responsibility to motivate the motorist towards preventative maintenance. “It’s not something that can easily be achieved by the wholesaler,” he says.

“It is also essential that all of us who supply the aftermarket do not accept that our products have become and will remain distress purchases. That attitude leads to decline and eventual failure.”

Speaking at the NEC, where NGK expected to hand out 20,000 bags of freebies to visitors, Childs had a mild pop at the ‘no shows’. “From a purely selfish standpoint, the absence of so many other automotive brands means public recognition of NGK will become even stronger.”

And will NGK be at next year’s Aftermarket Show, ATS and the London Docklands AutoExCeL? “We’ve got some very big decisions to make this year,” says Childs.

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