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Saudi automotive aftermarket's exciting growth potential

Dec 11, 2017

Women drivers accelerate demand for Kingdom’s aftermarket as more than 150 exhibitors countdown to inaugural event

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: The expected influx of Saudi drivers from 2018 will have a significant impact on the auto parts, maintenance and services industry, with manufacturers and suppliers advised to stake their claim early in a market full of new opportunities, the chief of the Kingdom’s only dedicated aftermarket trade show said. 

Ahmed Pauwels, CEO of Messe Frankfurt Middle East, co-organiser of Automechanika Riyadh 2018, said Saudi’s decision to allow women to drive from June 2018, along with other recent economic initiatives, bodes well for many industries, however the Kingdom’s automotive aftermarket is among those that could benefit the most.

“Saudi already has more than seven million passenger vehicles in operation, and this will increase significantly in the coming years, with potentially nine million new drivers added to the roads,” said Pauwels.

“Automakers will be the first to benefit, along with banks and insurance companies that finance and underwrite new car purchases, however the aftermarket comes next, when these millions of additional cars require regular repair and maintenance, replacement parts, tyres, batteries, accessories, car care and grooming.” 

Pauwels comments come ahead of the inaugural edition of Automechanika Riyadh, the largest dedicated trade show for Saudi’s aftermarket in the Kingdom’s Eastern and Central regions. 

The biennial three-day event takes place from 5-7 February 2018 at the Riyadh International Convention and Exhibition Centre, and will feature more than 150 exhibitors from 20 countries.

“Revenues for Saudi’s aftermarket, including tyres, batteries, lubricants, and other engine components and accessories, was worth more than US$6.7 billion in 2016, so it’s already a significant market, and the largest in the Middle East,” added Pauwels. 

“Earlier predictions had slated the market to be worth US$8.9 billion by 2021, however with this new decree, it will likely be much higher.  The key now for aftermarket players is to reinforce their existing presence if they already have one in the Kingdom to capitalise on the latent opportunities.  Or for those that don’t have a presence, the time is right to establish new partnerships and networks.”

The strong global and regional presence of exhibitors at Automechanika Riyadh 2018 will be looking to do just that, spearheaded by the show’s Launch Partners O2Proformance, and Samir Odeh Group, which specialises in the distribution of Original Equipment Manufacturer parts from Europe.

O2Proformance, a provider of auto care products and accessories, will launch, among many new offerings, its Italian-made Ceccato automatic car wash machine, as well as a ‘cosmetic line’ of car care products, also by Italian manufacturer Mafra.

Ahmed Al Hussaini, the Managing Director for the Gulf region at O2Proformance, said: “The Ceccato automatic car wash is a profitable alternative to the old manual system.  In a market that is quickly changing such as Saudi, investing in an automatic system will be profitable for the entrepreneur both in terms of costs and profit.

“Another feature to consider is that thanks to the hybrid system from Ceccato in combination with Mafra chemicals we can provide a system that washes properly without causing any damage to the car paint.”

Al Hussaini said the Saudi aftermarket will also change and grow as a result of an entirely new demographic being added to its roads, adding: “It’s an exciting time for the Kingdom, and we’re sure that many women will take care of their cars. Considering our huge product range specific for car care by Mafra and Labocosmetica, which offer a ‘cosmetic line’ of products for cars, we’ll cater to all their needs.”

Other headline exhibitors at Automechanika Riyadh 2018 include Dubai-based Mineral Circles Bearings (MCB), Japan Toyomoto, American headquartered Donaldson, ZF Services from Germany, and Spanish company Blinker.  The inaugural event will also feature country pavilions from Germany, Italy, Spain, UK, and China.

The Riyadh event is the 17th global instalment of Automechanika, the world’s most successful automotive aftermarket trade fair brand. It will alternate between the Messe Frankfurt-organised Automechanika Jeddah, which will next take place in February 2019. 

Hadi Al-Harith, CEO of Automechanika Riyadh’s co-organiser, Ace Group, said: “It gives us great pleasure to continue our association with Messe Frankfurt Middle East and extend the reach of the Automechanika brand into Saudi’s Central and Eastern regions.

“Saudi’s decision to allow women to take to the wheel in the Kingdom is certainly good news for aftermarket stakeholders, and will add to the buzz on Automechanika Riyadh’s show floor when its doors finally open in February 2018. 

“Women comprise about 45 percent of the total Saudi population and nearly ten million of them are between the ages of 15 and 64. Additionally, around 65 percent of the Kingdom’s women plan to apply for a driving license as soon as the law allows it, while around 85 percent of the women set to take the wheel are planning to buy cars.”

“The resulting growth in vehicle sales is expected to have a ripple effect on the aftermarket, with significant impact on demand for parts and services, procurement, repair and maintenance – the latest of which will be on show at Automechanika Riyadh 2018,” added Al-Harith.

Automechanika Riyadh 2018 is expected to attract more than 4,000 Saudi trade visitors, as they seek solutions across seven product groups of Parts & Components, Electronics & Systems, Accessories & Customizing, Repair & Maintenance, Dealer & Workshop Management, Car Wash, Care & Reconditioning, and Tyres & Batteries.

The inaugural show will also feature the Truck Competence initiative, where more than half of the exhibitors will showcase their products dedicated to the entire value chain in the truck sector, from truck parts and accessories, to workshop equipment, body repair and care.  More information is available at: www.automechanikariyadh.com.