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Dubai Expo 2020 sparks fresh optimism in UAE automotive aftermarket

10 Mar 2018

International auto services suppliers target Automechanika Dubai 2018 as launch pad for regional growth

Dubai, UAE: The upcoming Dubai Expo 2020 has sparked fresh optimism in the UAE automotive aftermarket, with international manufacturers gearing up for new business opportunities as final preparations fall in place ahead of the global mega event.

The Middle East’s first ever World Expo is expected to attract more than 25 million people from across the globe, while a price tag of at least US$9 billion suggests the host Emirate is pulling out all the stops to create state-of-the-art facilities and infrastructure.

With US$3 billion worth of venue-related construction contracts awarded in 2017 alone, the increase of commercial and heavy duty vehicles along with cars is expected to effect a corresponding rise in demand for spare parts and accessories, tyres and batteries as well as a host of maintenance and upkeep-related infrastructure and services.

The business potential has injected new impetus for international players in the auto services industry, with more than 1,900 from 57 countries preparing to showcase their latest products and services at the 16th edition of Automechanika Dubai in 2018.

Companies exhibiting at the three-day event, which takes place from 1-3 May at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre, are targeting large-scale business growth up to, and beyond the six month global showcase.

UFI Filters from Italy celebrates its premiere at Automechanika Dubai 2018, and will present its full range of air, oil, fuel, cabin, hydraulic and coolant filters for the Middle East’s automotive sector.

Luca Betti, Group Aftermarket Business Unit Director at UFI Filters, said the Company recently reinforced its Dubai office to strengthen customer service support as business ramps up in the UAE, and regionally.

“UFI Filters expects a big boost in the automotive industry, deriving from the large investments in infrastructure, not only related to the Dubai Expo 2020, but in other areas as well,” said Betti, claiming that UFI’s products and know-how have a widespread presence, from Formula 1 racing cars, to premium OE applications, up to the European ExoMars spacecraft.

“The reinforcement of the Dubai office team will support the development of UFI Filters business in the Middle East and Africa, which is a key pillar of its Three-Year Plan. Renowned for its innovation, UFI Filters meets the needs of nearly all car brands and motorcycles, as well as commercial, heavy duty and agricultural vehicles” added Betti.

Autopumps from the UK is another first-time exhibitor at Automechanika Dubai 2018, and will introduce its aftermarket commercial and industrial pumps range.  Bill Cotton, Owner and Managing Director of Autopumps, said: “The Dubai Expo 2020 will act as a global hub for innovation and collaboration, and as such, will have a highly positive impact on the regional automotive aftermarket.

“Through bringing industry leaders, decision makers and great minds together, these events facilitate conversations that enable development and forward thinking in our industry both regionally and globally.  

But Cotton cautioned: “Unprecedented decisions on time scales relating to new and emerging technologies may result in negative reactions regionally, so more clarity must be given with realistic time frames, factoring in the building of infrastructure.”

South African exhibitor Supreme Springs is a prominent manufacturer of coils, leaf springs, torsion and stabilizer bars for the OEM sector, and will be at Automechanika Dubai 2018 to expand its aftermarket business.  Gino Singh, Supreme Springs’ aftermarket sales manager has followed the Expo 2020 closely since it was announced to take place in Dubai.

“At this point, we’re of the opinion that the Dubai Expo 2020 will certainly grow the volume of production in the auto aftermarket as there’ll be more companies willing to enter the market,” said Singh.  “The presentation that I’ve seen is very positive and I have been following the project.”

Organised by Messe Frankfurt Middle East, Automechanika Dubai is the Middle East and Africa’s largest exhibition for the automotive aftermarket and services industry.

Long-time exhibitor ALCO Filters from Cyprus has generated US$10 million of new business revenue since it started exhibiting at the show in 2006.  Loizos Louca, ALCO Filters’ Managing Director said with the advent of the Dubai Expo 2020, business will only likely improve.

“The Dubai Expo 2020 will obviously create an infrastructure boom that will drive the construction industry and thus the heavy duty filter industry upwards,” said Louca.  “Also this will have a ripple effect into the automotive aftermarket in the GCC region.”

Automechanika Dubai 2018 spreads over six product sections of Parts & Components; Electronics & Systems; Accessories & Customising; Repair & Maintenance; Car Wash, Care & Reconditioning; and Tyres & Batteries.

Its global influence is highlighted by the presence of 25 country pavilions and 36 international trade associations, while 90 per cent of exhibitors, and 52 per cent of the 30,000-plus visitors are expected to come from outside of the UAE.

The annual showpiece will return with its popular Truck Competence initiative, where more than 1,500 exhibitors will showcase their products dedicated to the entire value chain in the truck sector, from truck parts and accessories, to workshop equipment, body repairs and care.

It will also feature the popular Automechanika Academy – a series of seminars, presentations, and workshops about key issues and regulations that affect the automotive aftermarket, and the African Buyer-Seller Meet, connecting suppliers with buyers from the world’s second largest continent.

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