A UAE delegation, under the aegis of the UAE Ministry of Foreign Trade and supported by Ruwaad Establishment, recently held a series of meetings with leading industry bodies in the US where road safety issues and business interests of the car customization industry topped the agenda.
They also discussed the possibility of setting up an association in the UAE that will help represent the industry in negotiations with the authorities for the viable growth of the sector.
The team, led by leading market players Top Speed Performance and the Middle East Motor Tuning Show, held high-level meetings with senior executives of Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA), the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA), and General Motors.
“The main objective for the trip was to gain expertise and experience from the SEMA Association and other US government bodies on how to manage the car modification industry to provide guidelines to customization enthusiasts and at the same time keep the roads safe for other users, which will help the industry to grow at a faster rate,” said Mr Saif Mohammed Al Midfa, Director-General, Expo Centre Sharjah, which is organizing the Middle East Motor Tuning Show from March from 14 to 16, 2013.
Chris Kersting, CEO of SEMA, told the delegation that the UAE is walking through the same tracks that the car modification industry in the US had to negotiate before. “The US also faced the same issues and obstacles until government authorities and industry players found a fine balance between road safety and business interests,” said Mr Chris Kersting.
The UAE team also took part in the Middle East Conference, which was addressed by Chairman of the Emirates Motor Sport Federation Sheikh Marwan Bin Rashid Al Mualla, Mr Saeed Al Marzouqi, President of Top Speed Performance, and Mr Roman Gavrilin, Show Manager, Middle East Motor Tuning Show.
Representatives of other team members of delegation: UAQ Motorplex, SubZero Motorsport, Al Ghandi Customs, Intraco Trading, Liberty Motor Sport and Limited Edition Rims also addressed the conference.
“We met the management of NHRA, CEO of SEMA Association, Director of GM Accessories Division and other leading industry representatives,” said Mr Roman Gavrilin.
The conference, which was organised by the SEMA Association, highlighted the advantages and challenges American automotive customization and aftermarket manufacturers and service providers could face in the Middle East. The passion for customization and top-of-the range racing facilities in the UAE and the rest of the Middle East were also highlighted.
The $30bn automotive aftermarket industry in the US covers the distribution, retailing and installation of all vehicle parts, chemicals, tools, equipment and accessories for light and heavy vehicles and is keen on the high-potential Middle East market.
While applauding the SEMA initiative in organizing the seminar, Sheikh Marwan said the event will help facilitate the entry of US companies to the UAE market and promote their products and services in the country.
Saeed Al Marzouqi, President of Top Speed Performance, highlighted the growth of the aftermarket spare parts and accessories market in the Middle East, with local companies relying on various events across the Middle East such as the largest performance tuning and car modification event Middle East Motor Tuning Show in Sharjah and some others to make the most of the favourable market conditions.
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