The automotive industry is big business. In the UK economy alone, the automotive industry accounts for more than £82 billion turnover and is a vital part of the UK economy. And in Europe, the sector is enjoying massive growth, providing jobs for 12 million people and accounts for 4% of the EU’s GDP. However, this is not surprising considering that the EU is among the world's biggest producers of motor vehicles with the sector representing the largest private investor in research and development (R&D).
Celebrating its 25th year, Automechanika Frankfurt, the most important trade fair for the automotive aftermarket returned last week, attracting over 133,000 trade visitors from 170 countries. One person in attendance of this year's Automechanika Frankfurt was our very own National and European Sales Manager, Georgia Hooper, who looks after the automotive market in the UK and Ireland.
In a new interview, Georgia talks about the insights she gained from Automechanika Frankfurt, how the sector has changed, and what future trends will have the biggest impact on the automotive industry in 2019.
At Polyco Healthline you're known as the ‘Automotive Expert’, can you talk a little bit about the growing importance of this industry in the UK?
When I look at other businesses and our competitors they have experts in their field but what other businesses don’t have is complete sectors. So, what we've done at Polyco Healthline is identify that we needed an expert and we've taken the business from 4 million to almost 10 million.
The automotive business grows year on year, the business and the vehicles change with the introduction of things the hybrid vehicles.
Also, the attitudes towards gloves shows the changes that have been happening in the industry over the last 10 years. 10 years ago, people who worked in the automotive industry weren’t wearing gloves, they didn’t want to know. Now the next generation are buying them, they want to protect their hands and they want to be wearing the trendy-looking glove that’s fashionable.
You recently went to Automechanika Frankfurt for the first time. Can you explain why you went and what you hoped to achieve?
The reason I went was to see what the opportunities were. In my role as Polyco Healthline's National and European Sales Manager, I specialise in the UK automotive market, but I also wanted to understand what the opportunities were within the EU for us in the UK market, and to take our expertise and what we've done within the UK and try to adapt that within Europe. So, my intention was to meet with some of our customers and to get a better understanding of what is happening in the industry.
One of the big insights I had was that Europe’s automotive sector is such a big market compared to Britain. When you have a market like the one I specialise in, it’s important to be looking outside of the UK market.
The automotive industry is a very competitive industry which makes my role challenging sometimes. As a result of the fierce competition and the constant changes within the industry, it’s important to have a real understanding of your area and your customers.
How do you think we can replicate the same success that we have experienced in the UK in Europe considering our specialist knowledge at Polyco Healthline?
I think it’s all about the expertise that we offer in the understanding of what glove is the right glove for what application, the market that we can offer, and it’s the quality of the products that we offer. And while we at Polyco Healthline are not saying that we don’t understand there are other offerings out there, we know it’s a big business and people do like us and I think that's the whole package that we have – it’s a premium product, expert knowledge, great portfolio and for me, that adds a lot of value to the market.