(MENAFN Press) Sharjah
Roaring car sales, not seen in the UAE in the past seven years, will add more excitement to the International Automobile Show that got under way at Expo Centre Sharjah on Wednesday, 28th November. The exhibition is held under the patronage of H.E. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed bin Sultan Al Qassimi, Crown Prince and Deputy Ruler of Sharjah.
Key factors such as the trickle down benefit of high oil prices and increasing population that are cited as reasons for the sales surge are expected to send record number of visitors to the biennial International Automobile Show, say industry experts. Rise in public sector salaries is another factor that has prompted many to buy new vehicles or upgrade to a bigger brand.
The nearly 30 per cent sales rise - with more than 200, 200 cars being sold - in the first nine months of the year is in sharp contrast to the declining or stagnant growth in several key markets, and cements UAE's position as the best volume selling market in the Middle East.
"The UAE and region is synonymous for their burning passion for cars and there is no other place than the International Automobile Show where this zeal is reflected in its true glory, a factor that encourages leading dealers to unveil their vehicles for the first time at the show, and tens of thousands of enthusiasts to turn up to check out the latest machines and their features," said Mr. Saif Mohammed Al Midfa, Director-General, Expo Centre Sharjah.
The show was jointly opened by H.E. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed bin Sultan Al Qassimi, Crown Prince and Deputy Ruler of Sharjah; and H.E. Sheikh Abdullah bin Salim bin Sultan Al Qassimi, Deputy Ruler of Sharjah, and will run until December 1, 2012.
A market research group has attributed the reasons for the surge in sales to more than one third of the UAE population moving to working age group that has resulted in increased per capita income and spending power. More first-time buyers are also moving away from second-hand or used cars to new cars.
"Customers are not only spoilt for choice on brands and features but also on cheap financing options with banks becoming more willing to lend to buyers," added Mr. Midfa.
Al Nabooda, the sole distributor of Porsche, Audi and Volkswagen brands in Dubai and the Northern Emirates, recorded a 25 per cent increase so far on last year's sales and Nissan registered a 15 per cent rise.
Arabian Automobiles saw a 33 per cent increase in the number of Nissan Altimas sold so far this year and a 15 per cent rise in BMW and Mini sales; Ford and Lincoln sales were up 38 per cent during the first half of the year; GM, which sells Chevrolet, Cadillac and GMC cars, saw a rise of 11 per cent in the same period in the UAE; and Al Habtoor Motors witnessed a 88 per cent rise in the number of Bentleys sold.
Aiming to extend the record run in sales, dealers taking part in the show are showcasing new models of Cadillac XTS, ATS, SRX, CTS-V, Escalade, Trailblazer, Camaro ZL1, Sonic, Cruze, Malibu, Traverse, Opel Corsa, Astra, Insignia, Meriva, Altima & other Nissan models, Infiniti JX, Polo sedan, Audi S models, Mercedes-Benz models, among others.
Winners of the third edition of Middle East Motor Awards ceremony were also announced on the opening day of the show. The award categories included 'best supercar', 'best midsize sedan', 'best midsize SUV', 'best hatchback, 'best luxury sedan' and the much coveted 'car of the year'.
The past edition of the show in 2010 featured over 25 brands of automobiles and attracted over 75,000 visitors.
The International Automobile Show 2012 is open from 10 am to 10 pm. On Friday, it will be open from 4 pm to 10 pm. Admission is free to all visitors.