(MENAFN Press) Better-than-expected sales posted by most automobile majors across all their segments are set to put the regional car customization and tuning industry in the fast lane of growth, say experts gathered at a leading industry event.
The customization industry thrives on luxury cars and SUVs, the sales of which have increased the most, with several brands seeing record sales for 2011, according to results announced by car makers and dealers.
Audi Middle East posted record sales of 8 per cent for January 2012, following its best ever annual performance in the region in 2011, while Ford achieved a 50 per cent year on year increase, Mercedes-Benz SUVs 16% surge in sales across all models in the range, Infiniti 5.17 per cent rise, Volkswagen Middle East 21 per cent, Chrysler Middle East 20 per cent, Toyota 16 per cent for H1 2011, and Hyundai dealership in the UAE reported sales growth of 29 per cent.
Aiming to derive better benefits from the zooming car sales, regional car tuning and customization firms and product dealers have converged on Expo Centre Sharjah for the third Middle East Motor Tuning Show, which got under way on March 15, 2012.
The show was opened by H.E. Sheikh Salim Bin Abdu Rahman Al Qassimi, Director of the Sharjah Ruler's Office, and will continue until March 17. The opening ceremony was attended by Mr. Ahmed Mohammed Al Midfa, Chairman, Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mr. Saif Mohammed Al Midfa, Director-General, Expo Centre Sharjah; government officials, industry representatives and guests.
"What fuels the regional car customization and tuning industry is the unique combination of the increasing sales of luxury cars and the boundless passion of their owners to make their vehicles stand out from the rest on the roads and the parking lots. With robust car sales in 2011 and the prospects looking brighter for 2012, the tuning industry is in for a rollicking time," said Mr. Ahmed Mohammed Al Midfa.
Most vehicle dealers have reported figures reaching their peak levels of 2008, and to keep the momentum going they are planning to further expand their model ranges and strengthen activities in the region, creating a buzz in the regional customization industry.
"This is the third successful edition of the Middle East Motor Tuning Show since it was launched and the second since it became a stand-alone event. The exceptional response for the launch (alongside the International Automobile Show) prompted us to present the show separately, when we were overwhelmed by the positive feedback from both exhibitors and visitors. We have added all the ingredients in the right proportion to make the third edition a runaway success," said Mr. Saif Mohammed Al Midfa.
Jostling for the attention of petrol-heads is a series of exciting events that will test their creativity, customization, driving and drifting skills. Setting the tone for the high-adrenaline show, the opening day saw the unveiling of the winning airbrushed car and design, which was chosen by online voting.
As the Al Ghandi Customs team got on with their job of carrying out the design live on the car, the activity became the centre of the attraction, adding a dash of colour and creativity to the region's premier tuning show.
Another activity that has generated great excitement among auto enthusiasts is the drifting arenas, offering them an opportunity to show off their skills in 4x4 and saloon car drifting.
"The popularity of drifting is growing fast in the country and the region. Through the two drifting arenas, we aim to give enthusiasts a platform to showcase their skills in a safe environment," said Mr. Roman Gavrilin, Project Manager, Expo Centre Sharjah.
A three-day long activity that is sure to attract customization lovers also got under way on the opening day of the show “ live modification of a pickup truck. Professionals from G-Force Garage began their work in front of an audience eager to know how to go about getting a new look for trucks.
The show is also a must-visit for car audio lovers, who can checkout the latest products in car audio and at the same time try out their skills in building the perfect car audio and multi-media systems by taking part in the Car Audio Competition held in association with EMMA Arabia and Pioneer Gulf for the third consecutive time.
Visitors can test their driving and racing skills at the Raceroom competition and the 4x4 Top Speed Championship series organized by Top Speed.
Apart from these activities, the show is featuring luxury sport cars, modified vehicles, racing vehicles, spare parts and components for car modification, bodykits and airbrush designs, tyres, high performance lubricants, car audio and multimedia, tuning clubs, specialist technical publications and accessories.
The show has an entry fee of Dhs. 30 per person and will be open to visitors from 11am to 11pm on Thursday (March 15) and on Friday and Saturday (March 16 & 17), from 3pm to 11pm.