(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Celebrating its tenth anniversary in style, Automechanika Middle East, the premier trade and networking mega exhibition for the regional automotive aftermarket, got under way on Tuesday at the Dubai World Trade Centre.
The three-day trade exhibition was inaugurated by Mattar Al Tayer, Chairman of the Board and Executive Director of the Roads and Transport Authority, who was accompanied by senior representatives from the organiser, government officials and leading figures from the regional automotive aftermarket.
The 2012 edition of the Epoc Messe Frankfurt organised trade fair is 24 per cent larger than last year, underlining the continuing growth story of the Middle East automotive aftermarket.
With statistics from Dubai Customs indicating that the city's trade in auto parts had risen by 12 per cent in 2011 to total 9.9 billion, prospects for sustained growth in the aftermarket industry continue to remain positive, attracting fresh interest in the region among international aftermarket players. Figures for the first quarter of 2012 will be revealed by Dubai Customs during the Automechanika Academy taking place as part of the exhibition. Dubai already has a reputation as an influential re-export hub, while projects such as Abu Dhabi's recently announced 'Automobile City' are set to further meet the market's growing demands.
"The UAE has become the regional distribution center for automotive parts and accessories not only to the Middle East but also to Africa and parts Europe," said Asad Badami, managing director of A-MAP, which specialises in the distribution of aftermarket automotive spare parts, automotive batteries, tyres, and lubricants.
"In particular, Dubai's geographic location and cooperative local authorities are of significant benefit when connecting Asia to Africa and Europe. For example, Dubai ports can potentially enable the same day release of goods. Once a vessel arrives, the container can be offloaded and the goods warehoused within twelve hours. This is something you don't get anywhere else."
"Another of Dubai's competitive advantages is the fact that many of the region's landlocked countries, such as Afghanistan and Kazakhstan, rely on goods being transported by land. This is a considerable boon for South East Asian countries, which can export their goods to Dubai where they are warehoused temporarily and re-exported to these countries via the land route," Badami added. The UAE's advantages as a regional automotive hub is one of the main reasons for Automechanicka's enduring popularity, with organisers stating that this year's edition will be 24 per cent larger than the last, and the biggest edition yet. The organisers are also quick to point out that more visitors than ever before are hailing from Saudi Arabia, largely due to the country's development boom.
"Auto parts distributors and dealers, particularly those from emerging markets, are interested in the 'availability factor' more than anything else," said Badami. "They want quality brands at a fair price, but they are especially interested in being able to acquire the parts they need quickly, easily, and from partners they can trust to deliver for them in days not weeks, and without necessarily being made to 'bulk buy' to agree a fair price."
A-MAP, which has grown by 300 per cent since 2009 and is expecting to double in size by 2013, is currently expanding into new markets, having already established operations in Africa, Asia, and North America. The company believes that its participation at Automechanika will enable it to 'see and be seen' in an increasingly competitive sector.
"Automechanika in Dubai gets bigger and better every year, and we know from attending past events that visiting delegates are people we want to meet.
Over the past year, we have seen our business grow exponentially, and we firmly believe that this growth is rooted in the many international relationships we have worked hard to develop," concluded Badami, whose A-MAP company trades Solite batteries, Asimco brake pads, Fenix and Achilles tyres, and RBI rubber products, among others.