Media Release

South Africa's Leading International Trade Fair for the Automotive Industry targeting Trade Visitors from the Sub-Saharan Region

6 - 9 May 2015
Johannesburg Expo Centre, Nasrec

Roger Houghton
Fax          +27 11 494 5004


Bilstein, the suspension solutions company, has brought a mobile suspension test rig to South Africa for the Automechanika Johannesburg trade fair for the automotive aftermarket and will use it to highlight the importance of shock absorbers in ensuring safe handling.

The drive-on machine can accommodate passenger cars and light commercial vehicles and quickly detects shock absorber defects – one of the primary (and least diagnosed) causes of poor roadholding. The mobile tester comes to the show directly from Germany, where Bilstein use it to measure shock absorber performance, particularly during holiday periods. Within minutes it can provide information and precise data on a car's road manners and levels of safety, clearly documenting the current state of the suspension.

The 12-metre long machine will stay in South Africa after the show, and is the third of its type built by Bilstein. After China, SA is the first market outside Germany to get such a machine, and it will play an important role in the brand's long-term marketing campaign.

With the aid of a vibrating plate under each tyre, which simulates the road surface, load cells measure how effectively the suspension and shock absorber keeps the tyre in contact with the road. The frequencies of the vibrations change during the test sequence, and simulate different of driving conditions. A printed report with recommendations and remedial action can be issued at the end of the test.

Independent research conducted in Germany by Bilstein shows that one in five vehicles tested has some kind of shock absorber issue. This is roughly in line with figures from accredited testing organisations such as TÜV Nord and Dekra, which estimate that up to 15 percent of all vehicles they inspect have defective and potentially unsafe shock absorbers. This means that approximately six million German car drivers pose a risk to themselves and others.

Because they generally deteriorate slowly, most drivers don't realise that anything is amiss, but worn shocks can cause a 20% percent increase in stopping distance, the early onset of aquaplaning, and poor traction in a variety of driving conditions. The effectiveness of electronic driver assistance systems will also be reduced. Bilstein's mobile shock tester will draw attention to these issues and make motorists more aware of the importance of their shock absorbers.

Background information on Automechanika Johannesburg

Automechanika Johannesburg is part of the global group of Automechanika automotive aftermarket business- to-business trade shows and business events with its portfolio of 15 trade fairs in 14 countries (4 continents).

Automechanika Johannesburg is licensed to SA Shows Messe Frankfurt (Pty) Ltd, part of the Messe Frankfurt Group. It is the largest event of its kind on the African continent and serves South Africa and sub-Saharan Africa since 2009

For more information visit

Background information on Messe Frankfurt

Messe Frankfurt is one of the world's leading trade fair organisers, generating around €550* million in sales and employing more than 2200* people worldwide. The Messe Frankfurt Group has a global network of 28 subsidiaries and around 50 international Sales Partners, allowing it to serve its customers on location in more than 160 countries. Messe Frankfurt events take place at more than 30 locations around the globe. In 2014, Messe Frankfurt organised a total of 120* trade fairs, of which more than half took place outside Germany.

Comprising an area of 578,000 square metres, Messe Frankfurt's exhibition grounds are home to ten exhibition halls. The company also operates two congress centres.

The company is publicly owned, with the City of Frankfurt holding 60 per cent and the State of Hesse 40 per cent.

Further information on the company can be found at
* preliminary numbers (2014)

Bilstein's mobile shock absorber tester can conduct
a variety of tests to determine
a vehicle's state of suspension health. It can be set up on
any relatively flat surface
Bilstein's shock absorber
tester is computer-linked,
and can provide a full report
on the condition of the shock absorbers. This machine will stay in South Africa after the Automechanika show and be used to conduct shock/suspension tests
around the country
While shock absorber testers are simple to use, skilled engineers are required to accurately assess suspension defects and their causes More permanent Bilstein
shock absorber testers are embedded in the ground, though the mobile unit is as capable and conducts the
same tests

For more information contact:

Roger Houghton on 012 998 1771 or at

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