Inaugural Automechanika Riyadh anticipates increased demand from women drivers

The expected influx of Saudi drivers from 2018 will have a significant impact on the auto parts, maintenance and services industry, with manufacturers and suppliers advised to stake their claim early in a market full of new opportunities, the chief of the Kingdom’s only dedicated aftermarket trade show said.

Ahmed Pauwels, CEO of Messe Frankfurt Middle East, co-organiser of Automechanika Riyadh 2018, said Saudi’s decision to allow women to drive from June 2018, along with other recent economic initiatives, bodes well for many industries, however the Kingdom’s automotive aftermarket is among those that could benefit the most.

“Saudi already has more than seven million passenger vehicles in operation, and this will increase significantly in the coming years, with potentially nine million new drivers added to the roads,” said Pauwels.

“Automakers will be the first to benefit, along with banks and insurance companies that finance and underwrite new car purchases, however the aftermarket comes next, when these millions of additional cars require regular repair and maintenance, replacement parts, tyres, batteries, accessories, car care and grooming.”

Pauwels comments come ahead of the inaugural edition of Automechanika Riyadh, the largest dedicated trade show for Saudi’s aftermarket in the Kingdom’s Eastern and Central regions.

The biennial three-day event takes place from 5-7 February 2018 at the Riyadh International Convention and Exhibition Centre, and will feature more than 150 exhibitors from 20 countries.

“Revenues for Saudi’s aftermarket, including tyres, batteries, lubricants, and other engine components and accessories, was worth more than US$6.7 billion in 2016, so it’s already a significant market, and the largest in the Middle East,” added Pauwels.

“Earlier predictions had slated the market to be worth US$8.9 billion by 2021, however with this new decree, it will likely be much higher. The key now for aftermarket players is to reinforce their existing presence if they already have one in the Kingdom to capitalise on the latent opportunities. Or for those that don’t have a presence, the time is right to establish new partnerships and networks.”

The strong global and regional presence of exhibitors at Automechanika Riyadh 2018 will be looking to do just that, spearheaded by the show’s Launch Partners O2Proformance, and Samir Odeh Group, which specialises in the distribution of Original Equipment Manufacturer parts from Europe.

Other headline exhibitors at Automechanika Riyadh 2018 include Dubai-based Mineral Circles Bearings (MCB), Japan Toyomoto, American headquartered Donaldson, ZF Services from Germany, and Spanish company Blinker. The inaugural event will also feature country pavilions from Germany, Italy, Spain, UK, and China.

Hadi Al-Harith, CEO of Automechanika Riyadh’s co-organiser, Ace Group, said: “Saudi’s decision to allow women to take to the wheel in the Kingdom is certainly good news for aftermarket stakeholders, and will add to the buzz on Automechanika Riyadh’s show floor when its doors finally open in February 2018.

“Women comprise about 45 percent of the total Saudi population and nearly 10 million of them are between the ages of 15 and 64. Additionally, around 65 per cent of the Kingdom’s women plan to apply for a driving license as soon as the law allows it, while around 85 per cent of the women set to take the wheel are planning to buy cars.”

Automechanika Riyadh 2018 is expected to attract more than 4,000 Saudi trade visitors, as they seek solutions across seven product groups of Parts & Components, Electronics & Systems, Accessories & Customizing, Repair & Maintenance, Dealer & Workshop Management, Car Wash, Care & Reconditioning, and Tyres & Batteries.

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