The Sema pavilion at the fifth Middle East Motor Tuning Show being opened at Sharjah Expo Centre

The Sema pavilion at the fifth Middle East Motor Tuning Show being opened at Sharjah Expo Centre

Sema pavilion at motor tuning show

April 2014

CONFIRMING the rising potential of the region, a large group of America’s leading automotive aftermarket players took part in a motor tuning and customisation show in Sharjah.

The Speciality Equipment Market Association (Sema) pavilion, featuring 42 American manufacturers and dealers, was inaugurated on the first day of the fifth Middle East Motor Tuning Show (MEMTS) at Expo Centre Sharjah.

The pavilion was opened by Sheikh Marwan Bin Rashid Al Mualla, chairman, Emirates Motor Sports Federation, and US consul general Robert Waller, in the presence of Saif Mohammed Al Midfa, CEO, Expo Centre Sharjah.

“We are proud to host the Sema pavilion for the second consecutive time, and this follows our participation in the Sema Show in Las Vegas last year. This could well be one of the largest American participation in any tuning show in the region,” said Al Midfa.

“The participation of the Sema pavilion is confirmation of bright prospects in the region’s tuning industry. It will not only help introduce new products and open up partnership opportunities, but will also go a long way in promoting the car tuning and customisation industry in the region,” added Al Midfa.

The Specialty Equipment Market Association organises the Sema Show, which is the world’s premier automotive specialty products trade event often described as the ultimate car candy factory.

“The Sema pavilion has brought together 70 representatives from US manufacturers and dealers and they are excited to be in the UAE, which is known for its love for all things automobile,” said Linda Spencer, director of International Affairs, Sema.

“During the last show, when the Sema pavilion came to the region for the first time, participants were able to meet representatives from local customisation firms as well as individuals. They were also able to conduct field trips and gauge requirements that are specific to the region,” she said.

“Buyers from nine countries, including the GCC and the Levant, have been invited by Sema. Leading firms from these countries will be converging on MEMTS to meet and interact with American manufacturers and others taking part in the show,” she added.

Visitors at a stall at MEMTS

Visitors at a stall at MEMTS

“In this part of the world no one likes to drive stock. Since car modification is a matter of personal choice, a lot depends upon personal tastes and styles, some of which could be quite expensive, some very classy, while others could be quite cheap but weird and wacky. With 3D printing technology making inroads into the automotive sector, it will be interesting to see how things take shape in the regional tuning industry,” said Al Midfa.

The UAE is set to emerge as the regional hub for auto tuning and customisation. The region’s top aftermarket dealers and tuning companies that converged on Sharjah for an industry event cited rising luxury cars sales as the prime driver of the customisation industry.

“The UAE is the biggest market for most premium brands of vehicles.... and owners of these vehicles are the ones who would like to customise their vehicles the most. And thanks to their patronage, the Middle East Motor Tuning Show is on its way to achieving a cult status among well-heeled tuning enthusiasts,” said Ahmed Mohammed Al Midfa, chairman, the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Led by Maserati, with a sales surge of 44 per cent, top luxury brands in the Middle East such as Porsche (26 per cent), Rolls-Royce (17 per cent), Mercedes (16.7 per cent), Audi (16.3 per cent) and BMW (15 per cent) reported impressive growth in their sales for 2013. The forecast is that sales will grow by another 18-25 per cent in 2014.

About 380,000 vehicles are expected to have hit the roads in UAE alone in 2013. In the Gulf Cooperation Council region, the sales volume was set to reach 1.61 million in 2013 compared to 1.49 million the previous year.

Car dealers point out that while the total market in Saudi Arabia is the largest in the GCC – at about twice the size of the UAE – the UAE is close to twice the size of Saudi Arabia when it comes to the luxury car market.

“Recognising this potential, leading global industry associations and firms are homing in on the country and the region. The presence of the Sema pavilion for the second consecutive year and the debut of the European Products pavilion this year stand testimony to this fact,” Ahmed Al Midfa said.

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