Wheels of Middle East Tyre Market “Set to Keep Turning in 2009”
According to the organiser of Automechanika Middle East, the exhibition’s host country retains a strong tyre industry despite the global slowdown. Dubai’s direct trade in tyres, it says, was valued at more than AED 6.6 billion (US $1.8 billion) in 2008, an increase of 12 per cent from 2007. And organiser EPOC Messe Frankfurt GmbH believes that “even with the economic downturn catching up, wheels of the tyre market in the UAE are set to keep turning in 2009” – and thus it has high hopes for the exhibition, which opens on May 31 and runs until June 2 at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre.
“Tyres worth AED 4.4 billion ($1.2 billion) for passenger cars, buses and lorries were imported to Dubai in 2008. 45 per cent of the total tyres imported were from Japan, worth AED 1.97 billion ($535 million), while imports of Chinese tyres stands at 20 per cent or AED 864 million ($235 million),” noted Mr. Michael Dehn, Automechanika Middle East senior show manager. “Out of the total imports Dubai consumes nearly 50 per cent, re-exporting tyres worth AED 2.2 billion ($600 million) to Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Africa, other neighbouring countries, and even to Netherlands, UK and Hong Kong.”
Dubai is a transport-oriented city, with one car for every 1.84 residents and an average vehicle occupancy rate of 1.7 people. In 2008 it had a higher rate of car ownership than any other city in the world. New car sales in the UAE have dropped amid the economic downturn. However the exhibition organiser believes a clear stability still exists in the auto aftermarket and replacement industry. The tyre industry, it adds, is an attractive segment, with almost 75 per cent of total tyre production intended for the replacement market.
The positive trend for the Tyre industry is not just limited to the UAE, says EPOC Messe Frankfurt; the entire Middle East is characterised by a diverse structure of economies, climates and transport conditions. The lack of railway connections in the Arabian Peninsula forces most of the overland-transport on the road, making it a high-volume sales territory for tyre manufacturers.
Automechanika Middle East is promoted as an ideal platform for tyre related businesses. The organiser reports that tyre wholesalers and dealers made up the third largest visitor group at the 2008 Automechanika Middle East exhibition, clearly demonstrating the vast business opportunities.