Region’s largest trade fair of its kind is gaining even more momentum
You can’t help being struck by the size of Automechanika Dubai.
With 1,889 exhibitors and more than 30,000 trade buyers at the show last month, the largest automotive after-market trade fair in the Middle East and Africa is showing no signs of slowing down. “We are getting very close to being one of the top five shows in the world for automotive after-markets,” says Gazi Bilikozen, show director, Automechanika Dubai and Automechanika Jeddah.
Ninety percent of the exhibitors at the show are international ones, he adds. “So you’ll see really the world of automotive spare parts and equipment all under one roof. There’s no other match within the Middle East and Africa. That’s why we’re so proud to have a show of this scale, not only in size but also in diversity.”
Held 2-4 June at the Dubai International Convention & Exhibition Centre, Automechanika Dubai 2015 was divided into six product categories: Parts and Components, Electronics and Systems, Tyres and Batteries, Accessories and Tuning, Service Station and Car Wash, and Repair and Maintenance. While Parts and Components was undoubtedly the largest section, the show saw over 20% growth in the Service Station and Car Wash as well as Repair and Maintenance sections, Bilikozen says.
UAE tyre distributor ZAFCO presented a line-up of five brands, including its own brand Zeetex, along with Otani, Double Coin, Accelera and Forceum. The ZAFCO booth had PCR, TBR and OTR tyre categories as well as Zeetex batteries and lubricants on display for visitors and potential customers.
Exhibiting was a success for ZAFCO, says Raghavendra Sanga, head of product communication and marketing at the company. “Automechanika is definitely a decent platform to enhance brand awareness and has benefited ZAFCO for the past few years. This is the reason we displayed five different brands at our booth [this year], to cater to the relevant target market based on their needs.”
The tyre distributor generated a considerable number of leads at its stand, Sanga says. Most were from the Middle East and Africa, which are promising markets for ZAFCO. “We believe that some countries from the African market have a lot to offer. We are focusing on tapping into the right countries at the right time to capitalise on those untapped opportunities.”
Chinese tyre manufacturer Linglong Tire showcased its product range at Automechanika. The exhibition is an important opportunity to strengthen brand awareness in the Middle East, says Lisa Sheng, director of Europe-Africa at Linglong Tire. “This show not only enhanced the connection between Linglong and its existing clients, but also attracted lots of new clients from the Middle East and Africa.”
The Middle East was one of the first overseas markets for Linglong Tire, and the Chinese brand is here to stay, Cheng adds. “Despite the intense competition, Linglong will maintain its rapid growth with increasing brand power and an excellent product.”
Another Automechanika exhibitor was WABCO, a provider of electronic braking, stability, suspension and transmission automation systems for commercial vehicles. The Belgian firm displayed an array of products and systems for fleets, such as the Advanced OnLane, a camera-based lane departure warning; OptiTire, a tyre pressure monitoring system for trucks and trailers which can increase fuel economy by up to 2%; and its AMT technology.
This year’s exhibition also featured a massive number of companies displaying spare parts for trucks, trailers and other commercial and passenger vehicles. One was Dynatrade Automotive Group, which showcases its line-up of spare parts for European trucks and cars, Japanese cars and heavy equipment.
Dynatrade saw increased interest from new markets such as Southeast Asian countries at the show, observes Sajan George, assistant senior manager (exports). A core strength of the company is that it houses large stocks of parts imported directly from manufacturers in Europe and elsewhere, enabling it to offer quicker delivery of parts to dealers, with no minimum purchase required.
When asked about the overall response at the Dynatrade stand this year, George points out that while the number of booths at the exhibition might be higher, footfall appeared to have been less compared to last year. Part of the reason might be external political conditions.
“Many of the customers we have were not able to make it because some of them had visa problems,” he points out, adding that Dynatrade’s Yemeni customers based in Saudi Arabia in particular faced issues.
Azhar Jaleel, regional marketing manager Middle East at Mann+Hummel, echoes George’s comments about a slower response at the stand this year. “It wasn’t as much as last year, definitely not.”
When asked to comment, Bilikozen noted it was possible some companies received fewer visitors per stand. However, this could be due to other factors, such as booths being more spread out over the exhibition area, he points out. “It depends on the location of their stand as well. Obviously, overall there were more visitors, but of course maybe fewer people came to them, that’s also a possibility.”
Additionally, he maintains that regardless of footfall, exhibitors have to focus on the quality of leads generated at the show.
Despite the slightly dampened response, Mann+Hummel’s booth was quite busy at the show, on account of activities organised for visitors, like a selfie stand, Jaleel says. The German manufacturer displayed its line-up of filter systems and showcased over 50 products, he adds.
While all of the products generated interest, the one that got more attention was the Frecious Plus, a three-layer cabin filter with microbial function, which removes dust, odour and allergens.
Both George and Jaleel are certain of participation next year. “We participate every year because we get our customers,” George says. “People do come here. As a company, we’re able to offer more to everybody and we provide them a solution.”
The show holds high significance for Mann+Hummel as well, Jaleel notes. “It’s one of the events where we are very, very particular about everything, including the design of the booth, the execution and so on. It’s very important for us.”